Dungeons & Dragons world building
For this design I was inpsired by actual medieval maps. I loved how incomplete those looked, with many parts of the world they depicted seeming like guesswork and oversimplifications. I recreated this feeling to make the Mirrowood map look like an actual object from the world it depicted, made by an actual inhabitant of this fantasy reality - not drawn by some omniscient illustrator.
Adding miniature versions of the towns and cities gave the map a second layer. These minatures provided a glimpse of the culture of these lands and depicted landmarks a traveller using the map might actually recognise.