Crumpled City Maps



Don’t get me wrong, I love San Francisco. (I’m a designer; it’s in our genes.) But there ARE times when, for two cents, I’d crumple up the city in the palm of my hand, toss it over my shoulder, and walk off muttering a weary “Meh.” And thanks to the folks at Palomar, I can do just that, or at least crumple up a map of the Bay Area…or Paris or Rome or any of more than 50 other cities of the world.


“Not to find one’s way around a city does not mean much. But to lose one’s way in a city, as one loses one’s way in a forest, requires some schooling.”

-Walter Benjamin


Printed on a wood-free, non-woven material made from 100% high-density polyethylene fibers (HDPF) – in short a thin synthetic sheet – these fun ’n funky maps seem perfect for our ultra-casual age when you wouldn’t look twice at the person wearing pajama bottoms while in line at Starbucks. (Do NOT get me started…) Simply ball it up, stuff it in your pocket, and it’s ready to whip out and consult at a moment’s notice.

While I love a good paper map as much as the next person, there’s definitely something to be said for printing directions on a substrate that’s this light and easy to carry around, not to mention the peace of mind that comes from consulting a map that’s 100% weatherproof. Printed with 4 spot colors, everything is extremely easy to read, with so-called “Soulsights” – “unique places specifically chosen to move, touch and inspire the modern traveller” – called out for special attention, along with the usual art galleries, monuments and museums.

Now I know what you’re going to say and my answer is this: “Sometimes you really just want to put your phone away and engage with the real world for a while.” If you need to get somewhere in a hurry, fine, but otherwise this is a pretty fun and handy way to get around a new city. (Bonus points for making printed maps relevant in an increasingly digital world.) And yes, there’s even a dash of romance to be had from the whole experience, too. As Palomar describes it, there are “a multitude of new gestures to discover. To have fun and find yourself laughing under the rain with the map of the city above your head.”

Best of all, it’s bound to make you some new friends once people see you consulting your crumpled map. Provided they look up from their smartphones long enough to notice, of course.

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Project Details

Title Crumpled City Maps Client Palomar Date 2011 Design Palomar Paper Wood-free, non-woven material made from 100% high-density polyethylene fibers (HDPF)

Production Details

Number of Colors 4 spot colors

  1. Suzanne 7 years ago

    Sounds awesome, to say the least 😀 (being a person that tends to get real paper maps of NYC, and then crumple-fold them into my pocket. (don’t get me started on that sorcery that one needs to fold fitted sheets..gah).

    • Suzanne 7 years ago

      I forgot to add. I NEED THESE!

      • Aaron Berman 7 years ago

        Fortunately you can find them on eBay pretty inexpensively, and on Amazon for a little more 🙂

        • Suzanne 7 years ago

          Awesome! i never thought to look there! Thanks!

          • Aaron Berman 7 years ago

            Happy hunting 🙂

    • Aaron Berman 7 years ago

      Ha! We feel your pain on that whole map-folding challenge – ack!

  2. caressa 1 year ago

    does anyone know who would print large format on this type of paper seems similar to tyvek?? Preferably in the U.S. Thanks!

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