Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a lovely festive season and, for those in the southern hemisphere, took some time out for a well deserved summer break. I returned to my newly organised office last week and it is feeling ready for 2017, which will be another big year for CMID.
As part of our tidy up over the break, my husband and I re-shuffled some art around the house as we had some new pieces to install. One new addition to our collection was a wedding gift from dear friends who are based in Washington, D.C. They thought it would be fitting for us to have representation of the place where we fell in love - so they gifted us a map of Wellington from a Swedish company called Mapiful. We cherish it and it now hangs by our bedroom and office doors so we can see it every morning. I thought the product was unique and striking in its detail so I contacted Mapiful and conducted the following interview.
What is the origin story of Mapiful? It was basically a desire to create an entirely automated business that would handle itself, since we the founders (Johan, Erik, Anders and Edvin) were all working in our own businesses. The idea itself popped up during an evening of brainstorming business ideas when Johan remembered something about his girlfriend not ﬁnding well sized maps of her home town, and that's how it started.
What were the challenges in developing your business and how did you overcome them? Fortunately we were all experienced in an area that was relevant for what we were doing, Johan in accounting, Nils-Erik in law and Edvin and Anders with programming/web design. That helped a lot in developing the Mapiful we see today. What we struggled with the most was developing the site to be quick, clean and easy to understand. We also struggled with the juridical aspects, like what maps we were allowed to use as a base for our own maps. In the end we had to build our own database.
You were friends before your were business partners - how did this dynamic influence your operations?
We really complemented each other in regards to our know-how in diﬀerent areas, we also happen to be great friends so that was a big plus. We also like to believe that we could separate our relationship as friends and business partners. Which resulted in what we have today with only 2 founders actively involved, due to a business based decision.
What is it about Mapiful that sets it apart from like-minded businesses? Being ﬁrst at something, like we were, is of course a huge advantage. We have a site that works great and have had paying customers early on, which gives us a solid foundation compared to new competition within the same space. We're also proud of the map designs and how it translates on paper and in peoples homes - that's of course something we think diﬀerentiates us from others.
What does a typical Mapiful work day look like? Officially it starts at 9-10am in our oﬃce in Gothenburg together with my coworkers and some music. The day later ranges from damage control to implementing new ideas and functions that will ultimately will create a better customer experience. But to be honest, it starts right when I wake up and check how many orders we received the day before.
What are your top tips when one is thinking about getting a Mapiful print? 1. I would encourage people to take a second and think about that special place that we all have that make our heart skip a beat, that brings back memories and warm fuzzy feelings - rather than obvious places such as Paris or New York. That is essentially what Mapiful is all about.
2. We just love when people unleash their creative, and design posters using the tools we provide in ways we did not anticipate, or expect - perhaps by some clever changes to the text?
3. Figure out what emotion you are going for with the area/wall you will hang your poster on. Serenity, serendipity, sentimentality or maybe just pure playfulness or joy. Choose the art and interior details according to this feeling rather than looking at every piece by itself.
4. Composition! A great piece of art may stand by itself. However, in a great composition, a great piece will enhance and enrich the pieces around it as well, creating a one plus one equals three kind of result.
5. Sizes are important. If you start on a blank wall, it would make sense to start with a big centre piece, and build a composition around it, but if you are adding to a existing composition, it may make more sense to go for a smaller size. Think about where you would like your piece to be, and what works for your composition.
Thank you to Edvin for the helpful tips. I would encourage you to visit Mapiful - it's a great tool to find maps of the different cities that you may have visited or are meaningful. There are several print formats to choose from and a bonus is that Mapiful delivers worldwide for free!
Photographs via Mapifil.