Creativity Corner Creative Projects

Mapology Guides – The Birth

November 3, 2014

Happy November. Happy new week and hello Mapology Guides!

I know that many of you think I’ve been purposely cagy and teasing a lot about my new venture. The truth is that it’s not something easy to explain, so I wanted to wait until the whole story is ready to be unfolded!

Shall we start at the beginning? You know that I’m a big advocate of the creative process, so I’m happy to share some of my journey with you. I hope you indulge me.

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for Be Present Perfect map | 1

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for Be Present Perfect map | 2

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketches for Be Present Perfect map | 3

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Be Present Perfect map | writer: Simon Rodway | illustrator: Miranda Sofroniou

It all started towards the end of 2012. Ideas were brewing in my mind. But how and where to start? All I knew was that I wanted to collaborate and that I needed a partner in crime. This was not something I could or wanted to do on my own. So in 2013 I asked my good friend Mike Abrahams to come on this journey with me. Thankfully he agreed:-)

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for Matchmaking Pets & People map | 1

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for Matchmaking Pets & People map | 2

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for Matchmaking Pets & People map | 3

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Matchmaking Pets & People map | writer: Sarah Farley | illustrator: Nanna Koekoek

We set out to encourage people to explore questions of every day life in a fun, humorous and educational way.  Starting from the idea that almost everyone can use a map to work out where they are, the ‘traveller’ can then decide where they want to get to and begin the journey along a route and at a pace to suit. We fully believe in and support bite-size, visual learning and wondered if topics that are not geographical could be explored in map form?
Mapology Guides are the result.

Maps, although very in vogue and most of you know I’m obsessed with them, are still seen as mostly geographical. With the help of books like  Mapping It Out, this is slowly but surely changing. The act of map making can reveal a lot about all kinds of topics, different ideas, scientific phenomena and so on.

We decided on our first three topics and now the challenge was to go and choose the right writers and illustrators to help bring our maps to life!

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for What’s Bugging You? map | 1

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for What’s Bugging You? map | 2

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for What’s Bugging You? map | 3

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
What’s Bugging You? map | writer: John-Paul Flintoff | illustrator: Jenni Sparks

The long journey began and it was truly a most thrilling time. The magic happened when all four contributors of each map met to brainstorm and work out the most appropriate direction and solution for each map. Then the hard work started.

This venture would have never come to life without the dedication and sheer hard work of each and everyone involved in this project. I cannot thank them all enough.

All members of the team producing the maps are recognised for their contribution and share in the success (or failure) of the project with 50% of profits split equally between them for 15 years. This business model is called ‘shared risk and shared rewards’ and Mike and I are both very passionate about this way of doing business. As designers we aim for creatives to be more entrepreneurial and have part ownership of their work.

For now I leave you to glance at our happy hours at Mapology Guides HQ, peruse the website and online shop. All feedback is welcome and much appreciated as we prepare for the next series of maps in our collection. Thank you for all your support and understanding of my infrequent blogging. Soon, everything will return to normality.

We would love you to follow our adventure on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Facebook will follow shortly.

This post will stay live until Monday 17th November.

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  • Reply Catherine@farmhousehome November 3, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Hearty congratulations to you, Mike & all the map makers Tina. What a fabulous idea, so many people will benefit & gain clarity from
    these & it does take a talented team to get a wonderfully creative project like his off the ground. Wishing Mapology every future success, very exciting. xxxx

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      Thank you so much Catherine. It’s finally out of the bag:-) Thank you for all your support and good wishes xxx

  • Reply Becky - Pretty Dandy November 3, 2014 at 10:27 am

    How exciting and what a fab idea! Congratulations on such a fantastic result from your initial idea and thanks for sharing the creative process – I’m a big fan of that too 🙂

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Thank you Becky… glad you like it. I wanted to share some of the process to show how such ideas come about.
      It takes time, dedication and a lot of designing, planning and organising. It’s been a great and fun roller coaster!

  • Reply Giova Brusa November 3, 2014 at 11:16 am

    So wonderful that you can finally share with the world these amazing maps and all the hard work behind it.
    Good luck to you and Mike and all involved!
    All the very best!

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      I know, it’s been hard to explain so it was best to wait for the whole story to unfold.
      So glad your pack arrived. You won’t believe it but another pack that went to Amsterdam, the same thing happened. Someone in her building took it.
      I laughed out loud…:-)) Thank you Giova. x

  • Reply Leah November 3, 2014 at 11:27 am

    You have blown my mind. Incredibly talented team work. Love this so muck T. My heart is filled with joy xx

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Awww, thanks Leah. So glad you you like it… sending hugs xx

  • Reply Leah November 3, 2014 at 11:29 am

    So ‘much’. Hehe. Tiny phone keypad, and clumsy night time typing xx

  • Reply Anya Jensen November 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Ohh Tina this work between you is absolutely brilliant, and a very cool way to search for answers 🙂 I absolutely love the design and love the business model too. WELL done and hope for the greatest success for all of you.
    Hugs Axx

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      Thank you Anya. It’s so nice to have you guy’s support. Sometimes it seems the whole internet and IG is full of styling images, photography and flowers. As much as I love all that, there is this side to me that wants to encourage people to find answers to everyday questions:-)) I also really believe in entrepreneurship and part-ownership. It makes for the best work as people know they own part of it! Thank you for your support and glad you like them. No drama with post in Copenhagen, thank God:-)) xx

  • Reply Carole Poirot November 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    It’s brilliant to see images and read about the process you’ve gone through to get to the fantastic end result. The maps are so fun, well designed and informative, truly an amazing product. They will do so well, I just know it! Wishing you and the whole team tons of success with these. Well done to all of you. xo

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you sweetie. You were the first one to see them printed and all shiny:-)) Thank you for your support that day. It really helped to identify my photography needs. Glad you enjoy them and from your mouth to God’s ear… let’s see, I hope they’ll do well. Already thinking about the next series of maps:-)) I have a whole library in my head…

  • Reply Igor November 3, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    What a very exciting project Tina and I am such a happy chappy for having already had a personal intro and look at this creative work!! Congrats again & all the best for Mapology – I am a fan already!

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      OK, you’re the only person in Paris and in France to have these maps. Bearly 3 weeks old and you’re so with it:-))) Loved having you here in London and sharing my excitement with you and Judith – memorable for me!! Thank you mon ami…

  • Reply Emma Jayne November 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Great images and what a fantastic project. I love seeing initial sketches and the process too! Congrats 🙂

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Hello Emma, thank you for stopping by….

      I only chose snippets to show but I hope it shows some of the process. Thank you so much.

  • Reply Katy at Apartment Apothecary November 3, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    This all looks and sounds so exciting, creative and fun! The creative process images are fascinating, too. Just popped over to the site and the shop – it’s really wonderful, such great products. Wishing you every success! xx

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Thank you Katy. Very honoured to have had such a good response so far. Thanks for your support x

  • Reply Mary-Ellen November 3, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Tina & Mike,

    What a wonderful partnership and venture! I’m super excited for the both of you and have already purchased my first map (what’s bugging you?). Like I said, I 100% support you and I’m very happy for you. Wishing you all the best & lots of success.

    Mary 😉

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      Ha. Sorry I wasn’t able to tell you before. I wanted to wait until I had something to show as it’s not the easiest concept to explain without visuals.
      Aww, thank you for purchasing the WBU map. It’ll be in the post to you tomorrow. Let me know how you get on. Hope you get something out of it.


  • Reply Rhiannon November 3, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Congratulations Tina and team – they look wonderful ! I hope they will be a great success ! And really enjoyed reading about the process that got you to this point.

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      Thank you Rhiannon. Glad you also enjoyed reading about the process.

  • Reply Kate-Louise Thomas November 3, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    How thoroughly exciting Tina! It all looks wonderful and very tempting 😉 xKx

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      Hey you…. and thank you:-) Nice of you to stop by x

  • Reply Alison Sye November 3, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Firstly Tina, I did not think for a moment that you were being cagey or teasing us. I knew you were working incredibly hard to get things just right before the reveal.

    Secondly, I love the name, to the point and catchy. Love the design of the logo too.

    Thirdly, what a great idea. My daughter and I have had great fun looking at the ‘pet’ one – and I seem to have agreed to buying guinea pigs!

    The website is fab, very clean, I like that. ‘Death to Socks’ is brilliant and made us laugh.

    Wishing you every success xx

    • Reply tina November 3, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      That’s because you know me and get me:-))

      Thank you lovely. Well, Mike and I are designers after all:-)
      That’s exactly what we were hoping for when it comes to family discussions about pets. That’s great to hear and thank you for sharing:-))

      Haha, you know what? I sent a pack to Sir Paul Smith.. you know he’s a hero of mine. Forgot to mention that ‘Death to Socks’ does NOT include
      his socks:-)) Think he will see the funny side of it!

      Thank you Alison and all much appreciated xx

      • Reply alison sye November 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm

        I’m sure it will make Mr Smith smile, we all still need socks after all 🙂

  • Reply Alexandra November 4, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Tina, I am so excited for you (and your co-conspirators, of course)!

    The WLTM map cracks me up, but I think I definitely need the “What’s bugging you?”. I like having some gentle guidance, especially if it’s relatable, and non-scary enough that I don’t feel pressured into doing something!

    Am looking forward to your future mapology guides.

    Congratulations to you and Mike, and good luck!

    • Reply tina November 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

      Aww, thank you Alexandra:-)

      Haha, the WBU map is gentle and is meant to help people go through it at their own pace. That was the whole point. Non- threatening and hopefully problem solving.

      Can’t wait to have a whole library of them:-))
      Thank you so much. Hope you’re well x

  • Reply Mon@secretgardenhome November 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm


    That’s such an original idea. Congratulations!
    Looking forward to checking them out. Great name, by the way.

    Best wishes


    • Reply tina November 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you so Much Monika. Glad you like the name. I will, in due course, reveal how the
      name came about:-))

      Let me know what you think. x

  • Reply caroline@trend-daily November 4, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    How FANTASTIC Tina-huge congrats! A brilliant project and well worth time out from blogging for. Really pleased for you-what a brilliant achievement xx

    • Reply tina November 5, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      Hello love. Thank you Caroline. Feeling humbled reading all these comments here.

  • Reply Mel November 5, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Brava Tina!!! Wow. It took me a wee moment to get my head around it and I’m looking at each map laughing at the sheer brilliance and entertainment that it is. I LOVE IT. Congratulations to you and Mike and all of the contributors, you should all be proud as punch. Mel xx

    • Reply tina November 5, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Hence why I didn’t reveal much. It was impossible for me to give sneak peeks without explanation and I think people will need time to get their heads
      around it all. It’s a wee bit challenging for some and requires a little effort to engage. Something that in our fast paced IG ‘visual porn’ and ‘instant gratification’ world is not the norm.

      I’m glad you found them humorous, that’s a very big part of what we tried to achieve. Thank you also for taking the time to look through them with some care:-)

      For now, we are all ‘proud as punch’ Now the even harder work begins… and I’m looking forward to it!
      Thanks Mel xx

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey November 5, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    It’s fantastic to see Mapology come alive Tina. As I said before, I’m genuinely thrilled and excited for you & wish you & Mike every success! And I look forward to featuring Mapology on my zine 🙂

    Big hugs xxx

    • Reply tina November 5, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      Eeeeeeekkkkk, I distinctly remember the day I told you about it on the phone:-) It was just an idea then…. it has been amazing to take an embryo and make it give birth (not comparing pregnancy and actually giving birth here:-) but the journey has been interesting and enlightening in so many ways. My favourite has been all the collaborations and working together to bring out the best product we possibly can..

      I know you’re thrilled and excited for me and I can’t tell you how honoured, humbled and nervous I feel that you will feature Mapology on the Zine… another eeekkkkk!
      Thank you Gerard xx

  • Reply Deepa November 5, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Wow wow wow! Congratulations and well done Tina! I love it, the color, character and creativity of it all is so very you. And I hear you about the styled images and flowers, haha 🙂 Wishing you the very best on this exciting new adventure!

    • Reply tina November 5, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      Hi Deepa,

      Thank you for saying such lovely things:-))
      You know me, always honest and speaking the truth…

      Tala is getting more gorgeous by the day and it’s nice to see how much you enjoy motherhood. Hope you’re well.
      Amsterdam was on my radar for October but due to launch I couldn’t come. Planning to come in the spring so will let you know.

  • Reply Doris November 9, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Many many congratulations Tina on your new venture. Having seen Mapology guides first hand I can attest to saying that they are WONDERFUL! I know that this will be a huge success and can’t wait to share it. xD

    • Reply tina November 9, 2014 at 11:40 pm

      Thank you lovely!
      Aww, what a nice thing to say. It’s only been less than a week but feel much longer.

      Look forward to you sharing them:-) xx

  • Reply Bethany~FurnishMyWay November 10, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Tina, what a unique and amazing idea! Your creativity is all over this and is something you and your team could only offer! Glad to see you moved forward with it. Clearly this was a time-consuming creative process, do you have any advice for writers who have writer’s block?

    • Reply tina November 19, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Thank you Bethany.

      very time consuming but oh so enjoyable.
      Hmmm, writer’s block? Tricky one. Do something completely different to your normal routine. I’d say go on a date with yourself, explore a city, museum, exhibition. Make notes and let loose. Don’t think too hard. Be playful and get some inspiration to free your mind!

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