Q&A Ben Olins

Co-founder, Herb Lester

London

Launched in 2010, Herb Lester is a double-act between Jane Smillie and Ben Olins offering beautifully designed, and most importantly, handy, collectable maps of cities and top spots around the world.

How did you start Herb Lester?
We started with a guide to places where people who don’t have an office can meet and work, You Are Here. We’ve published 14 maps since then: a few on London, plus Berlin, Paris, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago.

Tell us more about the design?
We want the maps to be seen as a collection with an overall approach to their design. Our big inspiration is old travel guides where the emphasis is on what makes a city different. When we brief designers, we ask them to focus on the distinctive aspects of a city.

How do you decide on which city or suburb to go for?
We choose places we know and like or places we want to know and think we’d like. We’re making these guides for people like us. We get tips from friends. Then we do a lot of research.

What’s next on your radar? We’re working on quite a few maps: more New York, Paris and London; also cities in Spain, Italy and Scandinavia. We have a busy time ahead. herblester.com

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