Unclog Your Smartphone Brain With These Urban ‘Maps From the Mind’

November 12, 2015

Without GPS and Google Maps, most of us probably wouldn’t be able to get from point A to point B within our own cities. That’s where these clever Maps from the Mind come in (h/t Fast Co. Design). Designed by Archie Archambault, the maps are intended to jog our memories of the basic layouts of cities, bringing our brains back to the pre-digital age of road maps and actual sense of direction. Archambault swaps traditional street grids in favor of basic circles. Not only does it create a graphic look, but it’s easy to have the circles represent size and connection.

Archie Archambault, Map from the Mind, vintage letterpress, city maps

Archambault told Fast Co. Design that when he moved to Portland after college (he currently splits his time between Oregon and Brooklyn), he was totally lost:

When I got there, a friend was attempting to explain the city to me by pointing out different neighborhoods on an old folding map. It seemed a little pointless because I had no context for the place and there were so many details. I asked my friend to draw me a map of ‘just the basics.’ That crude map came directly from his head without any distracting details, just the things I needed to know as a newcomer. It was so helpful! I used it to get started, and as I explored the city, I built my own mental map.

Archie Archambault, Map from the Mind, vintage letterpress, city maps

And hence the Map from the Mind was born. Before creating a new map, he visits each city to experience it as a local. He uses the preferred mode of transportation (bikes in Amsterdam, cars in LA), talks to locals and engages them in the drafting process. He then prints the maps using a 19th century letterpress, creating what he hopes will help newcomers to a city get acclimated with their surroundings.

Archie Archambault, Map from the Mind, vintage letterpress, city maps

“We so often follow the lefts and rights that the GPS lady tells us without thinking about where we’re going. There’s something so alienating about this, like we’re not actually in the space. And it turns out this is a very powerful and absolutely essential part of brains that we’re losing. We need to do something to exercise it, and my maps can be a good place to start,” he says.

Explore all the maps on Archie Archambault’s website.

[Via Fast Co. Design]


All photos via Archie Archambault

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