Archie's Press: Mapping Cities by Scale, Urban Systems

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Great design is born from great inspiration. A book, a photograph, a color, or the feeling you get when you first step foot in a new city. There comes a moment of clarity, a moment when everything makes sense and you know exactly what needs to happen.

Archie Archambault, a Portland-based designer, draws inspiration from travel, exploring cities, and a minimalistic approach to city landscape. After discovering the lost art of letterpress his senior year of college, Archie has been on a mission to discover the ins and outs of the world’s biggest cities, and to showcase these cities through great designs.

Archie discovered letterpress his senior year of college and feel in love with the craft instantly. Upon moving to Portland, he found a studio called Em Space, who allowed him access to their letterpresses. As he continued to grow as a designer and a letterpress expert, he decided to design a map of Portland, influenced by an urban design summer course he had taken at Harvard.

When asked why he decided to design maps, Archie answered by saying, “ After I took the summer course at Harvard and read Kevin lynch’s The Image of the City, I became obsessed with urban systems and how an individual experiences the mental orientation of a city. It’s essential for me to explore the place and understand the scale to which residents refer to their place, but in the end, it’s the opinions of the residents that dictate the final specific elements.”

Archie spends his time traveling from city to city, exploring the layout and finding inspiration for his next map. He has spent time traveling the southeast, from DC to Austin, and is currently working on mapping out the Hawaiian Islands. As for his future plans? “I’ve got a lot planned this year,” Archie answered, “Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Philly and several others are coming up within the next several months!”

What started as a small project based in a studio in Portland is now growing into something much bigger. There are as many opportunities as there are cities in the world. Archie touched on the goals for Archie’s Press, saying, “Archie’s Press is meant to provide simple and beautiful tools for people. I’ve got a few ideas for new products with the same sprit, and everything will always be USA-made. I believe strongly in that.”

Archie’s maps, along with a few other design projects, are available at his website as well as being sold on Etsy.