Maps on sunglasses?!

7 06 2010

After some successful collections Ray-ban has decided to create Rare prints, a new collection with a lot of strange and super colored patterns. For the launch of the collection they decided to cooperate with some of the most important advertisement studios all over the world asking them to base their work on the glasses patterns..

The result is a collection of posters coded and signed by the designer and graphics.



That poster has been made by Aesthetic Apparatus, an american studion placed at the moment in Minnesota and specialized in rock concert posters. Dan Ibarra and  Michael Byzewski are the creators of the studio and the keys of its success, having their works published in many important design and art magazines and in “The Art of the modern Rock” the bible of the poster-art all over the world. Ray-ban asked them to work on the subway map patterns for sunglasses having that beautiful result, a mixture between art, advertisement and graphic design.


Well here’s another way of using and making maps, of course not in their original and classical function but  as a pattern for sunglasses..


Ortelio ecm, Mapping Milan since 1961

24 05 2010

To reproduce on a piece of paper a space, a place, an entire city could be a very difficult work but at the same time a fascinating one. Naturally maps producers must have a big experience on their backs, a story to continue and a passion to nurture but what is foundamental is the link to the territory they are representing. That’s the case of Ortelio ecm, a Milaneses firm that works for its costumers since 1961.

To know more about that world I asked some questions to Simona Franciosi, responsable of graphic and cartographic design and even of analisys of new products, tendencies and target.

What is Ortelio ecm production? How has  your offer changed during the years?

Our production has a standard edition line of fold paper maps distribued in newsagents, bookshops, big distribution and a series of customize products studied for costumer needs. For forty years our company has produced also atlas, pannels,mural maps.. The production tipology is the same, only methods has changed thanks to technogy.

What kind of maps are the most asked between those of Milan ? Who are your principal costumers?

We have different editions of maps about Milan. I’ll give you a list of them. The red one are the soldest:

titolo  Prezzo al pubblico  
Atlante Milano città e 271 Comuni dell’hinterland e i capoluoghi di:Bergamo-Brescia-Como-Cremona-Lecco-Lodi-Mantova-Pavia-Sondrio-Varese  €                                30,00  
Mini Atlas Milano e 82 Comuni dell’hinterland  €                                14,50  
PIANTE DI CITTA’ piegate    
Milano-Città/Provincia bifacciale  €                                  7,00  
Milano Automobilistica  €                                  6,50  
Milano Tranviaria  €                                  5,50  
Milano Rete trasporti pubblici autocopertinata, plastificata  €                                  5,00  
Milano e Comuni Limitrofi  €                                  7,50  
Milano e Comuni Limitrofi con codici postali  €                                  8,00  
Milano Est (21 Comuni)  €                                  7,00  
Milano Nord (36 Comuni)  €                                  7,00  
Milano Nord-Ovest (32 Comuni)  €                                  7,00  
Milano Sud (19 Comuni)  €                                  7,00  
Milano Sud Ovest (Comuni)  €                                  7,00  
Milano Turistica small (8 lingue) piegata, plastificata  €                                  3,00  
Milano Turistica (6 lingue) piegata  €                                  4,00  
Milano e comuni limitrofi  €                 26,00  
Milano e comuni limitrofi – C.A.P.  €                 28,00  
Milano Est  €                 28,00  
Milano Nord  €                 28,00  
Milano Nord – Ovest  €                 28,00  
Milano Sud  €                 28,00  
Milano Sud – Ovest  €                 28,00  
Milano Working Plan (bianco e nero)  €                 35,00  


Our costumers are at first newsagents, bookshops,…but the final client is the tourist for touristic maps, students for maps with transport lines, offices for mural maps and geomarketing, haulier and sales representatives for atlas and finally mural maps for companies as an advertisement means.

What is your relation with Milan’s municipality?

Our relation with Milan’s municipality is one way, in the sense that it cooperates with us in giving us periodical and accurate news about the city’s changes. We have never worked for them producing mural maps for advertisement.

Who are your competitors? Do other companies exist with that production in Milan’s area?

There are many producers of maps, I mention some of them in order of importance (from the smallest to the biggest) : DIELLE di Milano, DI LAURO di Milano, LOZZI di Roma, LAC di Firenze, FMB di Bologna, TOURING di Milano, DE AGOSTINI.

What techniques of production do you use the most? How has your way of working changed with the arrival of technology? Does a manual production still exist?

When the company was born, around 40 years ago, maps were all hand made and drawn, now we use different programs that allow us to elaborate and draw in a faster way. We start from the dates given by regions and agencies to rielaborate, enrich and update the cartography. Once maps were printed in 6 and even 8 colours while now all is done with softwares and technology and printed in 4 colours (quadricromia). We work for pure cartography with a french program MAC MAP and for graphics with well-known programs as Photoshop, Adobe illustrator… Maps are designed, drawn, paginated with texts and pictures and printed in different ways depending on the kind of map.

Have you ever cooperated with a designer for particular projects?

No, we have only worked with graphic agencies for costumize product’s productions. Actually I have thought about particular objects and projects, but the company’s politiques have never allowed me to realize them. 

That’s what lays behind the scenes of a map production and it is exactly all we wanted to know about it!

Milan city center 3D plan

22 05 2010

Who said that maps are just for the ones who can see them?  If we think about that it is a real subject to be treated and that the municipality in cooperation with Italian Blind Union and the International Association of Lions Club has to thought to be important for its citizens and visitors.

In via Vittorio Emanuele next to San Carlo square, there’s a beautiful 3d bronze  Milan city center plan, created by the artist Giuliana Ranghieri. That beautiful map is a perfect guide of the city, with all the most important buildings and monuments reliefed and subtitol in Braille to allow everyone to understand and appreciate how the city is desplaced.

Pietro Riboli: the biggest mural maps retailer..

19 05 2010

It’s not easy to get information about maps..but if you ask an expert you can find out interesting things.

Pietro Riboli, responsable of the tourists and maps’s area in Hoepli’s bookshop in Milan revealed me something about it..

What kind of maps do you sell the most?

Well surely those of public transportation, one way roads, maps that are useful for work’s aims, to reach places..and panels, world and continents posters.

Who is your best client?

Certainly not tourists, people who visit  different cities bring a map with them or find them for free in hotels or information points, so tourist are not the major buyers. Then privates, workers, agencies that use Milan’s maps to work, need to go to specific places and not only hanging around the city center. That’s why editors creates 3 different kinds of paper maps: the mini ones generally of the city center for tourists, those of public transportations and those of roads conditions and senses.

Do you sell historical or antique maps?

Not really, that market is very difficult to manage: there are not lots of buyers, maps have an elevate cost (around 1 or 2 hundreds of Euros) generated by the productions practices. The creator has to take an old Milan map, take the pattern and then reproduce it on a special fabric.. a lot of work that generates an high cost.

Do costumer search particular maps as gifts?

Pannels and blow-up of the city. One of the most beautiful that we have is “Milano a volo d’uccello” a tridimentional graphic representation of Milan from a bird point of view. It is made by a small graphic studio, that has represented the city faithfully and thanks to 3d it’s possible for Milaneses to recognize their house’s roof! On the same principle there’s also a blow-up of Milan made by satellite. Those articles could be a perfect furnish in houses, offices or shops and that’s why it is sold during the whole year. Then when school begins, or when offices rebuild their furnishings lots of people come to have mural map to adorn their places. Naturally those products have high costs between 100 and 600 or more Euros.

However I’m the biggest mural maps retailer!

Milano a volo d’uccello.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

14 05 2010

Maps could be the most objective way to represent reality but at the same time the perfect medium to express someone’s imaginary and fantasy..  John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (famous for his books: “The lord of the rings”, “Lo Hobbit”) used to design and to put in his books maps representing the fantasy places where the story took place, both to help the readers to orientate in the fantastic world and maybe to suggest them how to imagine it. The author designed the maps by himself, creating an atmosphere the more and more magical and fantastic and at the same time part of his stories’s success.

This is a representation of the “Middle earth” one of the scenary of “The lord of the rings” designed by the author.

Maps around Milan

13 05 2010

Until now we have almost talked about singular and particular maps, finding them strange, funny and surprising..but now it’s time to talk about them in their traditional function..

Desplaced around Milan there are big, beautiful panels representing the district and area they are placed in. It’s a service given by public administration to help almost everyone: tourists to discover the most important buildings and events in the area, Mileneses to orientate in the part of the city if they get lost,  maps’s funs to appreciate them!

I found them in the center of Milan: Cadorna Triennale


and in Piazza della Scala..

A human subway map..

13 05 2010

Have you ever thought to design the human body as a subway map?!

That’s what Sam Loman did! That Dutch designer imagined human body as a big city, where organs can be reached by the subway and naturally where the most important stop is heart..


That illustration had been published on Good magazine.