The recently released Michigan quarter-dollar coin is a great illustration of the importance of the principle of “figure-ground” as applied to maps. In the original proposal the outline of the state and Great Lakes was the main feature of the design. However, it would have been difficult for people not familiar with the land and water areas involved to determine which was which.
The final design uses raised relief to portray the terrain of the state’s land area, effectively differentiating the land and water areas.
The Michigan quarter is the latest release in the U.S. Mint’s state quarters program. Each year quarters for four more states are released, in the order of their statehood.
More information: Michigan quarter as released
More information: Earlier design for the Michigan quarter