Branding News: Design choice - MountMaps

Don't you just hate it when you see a product and wish you'd thought of it? MountMaps is one such example. Conceived by a product designer on a chairlift in Chamonix, and developed over the past two years, MountMaps are nifty pop-up maps of ski resorts that show the mountains and valleys in 3D-relief.

Waterproof, pocket-sized and designed to be easy to use with gloves on, they are an ingenious application of paper engineering (well, thin plastic actually, but you know what I mean).

The graphics are clear and straightforward, and the brand has developed a simple identity - the map folds up into the shape of the letter M - which embodies the whole concept of the product and tops off a very neat package.

So far, only two maps have been produced, but the company is working on more. Indeed, this is its challenge, because building up a wide range is going to take some time, with each location clearly needing a lot of development. However, I can see the technique being applied to other markets in future, especially as the company builds up its knowledge base.

At £3.50 each, MountMaps are not expensive, but they will have to compete with traditional piste maps, which are usually free. The question is, are MountMaps a massive step forward in topographical information design, or just a cool gimmick for snowboarders? I can't decide, but I'm not sure it really matters anyway - I still wish I had thought of it.

- Design: Iconic.

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