Antarctic Toobs

Antarctic Toobs

People have often joked with me about Antarctic Toobs and Maps. That you could literally flip over a SplashMap to it’s white reverse side and, hey presto, a snowy map is yours.

But the good people at the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust were not joking when they approached us at the Spring Fair in February.  So here’s the story of how we’ve started selling on our 4th continent, Antarctica!

Port Lockroy

Port Lockroy

A plan for a Toob emerged. On one side it would host some of the stunning cartography of the Port Lockroy Peninsular (the part that sticks out and points toward South America) as created by the British Antarctic Survey, the other would feature designs commissioned by the UKAHT.

The design challenge

A perfect Chart for the region was provided and to the scale and resolution we needed. However, the design challenge still took 3 iterations to perfect the set-up and centre the map perfectly.

The Map side is clearly Antarctic!

Plans were changed

Making reversible Toobs is normally easy where both sides are regularly and evenly patterned. Our fist prototype incorporated the specially commissioned Antarctic tartan. This was a lovely blue/ grey/ white regular tartan design. However, mid way through the project a decision was taken only to use this tartan on woolen products! Quickly a new option emerged and plans were changed to make a feature of the iconic gentoo penguins from the area. Beautiful illustrations of individual penguins were provided and our graphic designer, Paul, positioned these into a collage to create a unique and engaging pattern.

Numerous prototypes

Not over yet! The dark colouring of the penguins presented a new problem. The tartan had no black in it, but these little birds were predominantly black. This shows through to the pale shades of blue and white in the map. Numerous prototypes were created and tested with the customer before we finally fixed on a reduced black version that retained the character we were after whilst making even the finest detail of the map readible.

Just the right shade of penguin

And where would it sell?

The most southerly retail shop on the planet, no less. Port Lockroy is a popular stop-off for Tourists sailing the southern seas, attracting over 200 000 visitors per year. Each of them file through this remarkable little shop at the bottom of the world. Amazing to think our maps will be there.

Getting them there

The last stage of delivery is across the snow!

Only one shipment goes out per year, so it’s important to get everything there and in perfect condition for a long voyage. The main supply vessel pulls into Port Stanley (Falkland Is), and the last leg is much more precarious, exploiting a regular RIB service to the port itself.  The last leg is a drag across the snow! Consequently, the order came with some very specific packaging instructions to be completely sea/snow-proof (like the products themselves!). All waste has to be incinerated in the Falklands too, so excessive use of plastics or packaging materials is not tolerated. We could all learn from this approach!


Tailoring to the customer

I hope the story gives you confidence in this little business.  We’ll go the distance in design, packaging and delivery, tailoring to the customer for each, even  in the most extreme conditions.  If you have a custom job like this one, please get in contact and consider the options on our trade pages.

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