I was obviously flattered when the Ordnance Survey asked me to make scarves for the ladies at their reception desk. Then a sense of panic kicked-in. What women want from apparel is a bit of mystery to me.
Our maps have always been maps first and foremost. Yes, you can wear them and they’ve been incorporated into evening wear, as wedding favours and clearly worn around the neck in a rakish and athletic way.
But now I was obliged to make maps that get worn by the first people anyone gets to meet when they visit the institution synonymous with mapping tradition in their fabulously (almost 80% glass and open space) architected building.
I actually consciously made my visits to OS less frequent as we toyed with designs and materials. I found the expectant looks by the receptionists too much to bear.
By following our design principles (surely you’ve downloaded the book by now?) we arrived at a map scarf containing a thin strip of New Forest 1:25k OS map image with the extreme eastern section centred on the OS offices. The OS partner logo in black and white at one end, and the SplashMaps logo at the other. All this on a retail silk similar to that used on our latest London maps (we call this SplashMaps Lite material).
Today I was able to arrange to meet my partner account manager, Lester, in the reception area. So as soon as the ladies started looking expectant I could really give them what women want. A map that represents style, collaboration, partnership and one that shows the most iconic of OS map images. And what a result! There was mild panic as our ladies devised the best way to tie the scarves, and to wander if they’d go with the new uniforms. Thankfully this was followed by huge beaming smiles.
Mission accomplished and everyone delighted ;-). We’re looking forward to our next commission!