Q+A: Archie Archambault of Archie's Press November 13 2013
We all remember our firsts. Red Sail had only been open for two weeks when I got my first artist sales pitch, which happened to be from this young guy who just walked in off the street with a few postcards and prints. I still remember it because it was truly the worst sales pitch EVER, but in an adorable "I'm REALLY new at this" kind of way. It was pretty quiet that day so I said I'd take a look at the work and, wow, I'm so glad I did, because that guy was Archie Archambault, the talented designer behind Archie's Press. In the past two years he has gone from someone making a few maps here and there, to a top-notch designer traveling the country creating maps for cities coast to coast. It's been so exciting and rewarding for me to be a part of his journey as a designer and fledgling business owner, and his visits to the shop are always welcomed. Fresh off his latest mapping tour of Washington DC, Atlanta, Austin and New Orleans (Red Sail will have these maps in the next week or so), Archie gives us a peek inside with some Q+A.
Portland Map, the best seller | Archie while on a mapping tour this fall | New Solar System Map
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?Whenever I make a city map, I find the most inspiration from the city itself. Stylistically, I draw inspiration from any form of experimental information systems. These are littering the internet, but a few names that come to mind are Nicholas Felton, Rem Koolhaas and Pinterist.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?Traveling is the most exciting part of my job. Every new city provides a new set of challenges that I can't help decode with a long walk or a bike ride while I consume the fruits of every city's culture.
What’s your greatest challenge as a designer right now?I'm really afraid of falling into a formula. I'd hate to be pigeonholed as someone who doesn't provide a lot of thought into the work they produce.
What’s a little known fact about your collection that you wish more people realized?My work is aimed at producing the clearest and most truthful representation of a city. I'm not just making something that looks cool. The goal is something truly useful, a map straight from the mind.
What's in the pipeline right now? Any sneak peeks or upcoming projects you want to share?Right now I've got 4 new maps to release and they're almost done. It's keeping me on my toes. Next year I hope to do a mapmaking tour of Hawaii, San Diego, LA, Vegas, Salt Lake, Denver, Aspen, Omaha, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Madison, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. We'll see how far I get! Also looking for an adventure-mobile for the voyage. Know anyone with a Vanagon for sale?!
What are you listening to in the studio while you’re working?It changes every week, but The Current from Minnesota Public Radio is the greatest radio station I know of.
What is the #1 piece of advice you’d share with an aspiring designer?Don't Despair! You're going to come up with hundreds of terrible ideas, but the gems make it worthwhile. Delegate responsibility. You can't do everything yourself. There aren't enough hours in the day.
The work day is done! Where is your favorite place to unwind?
Anywhere with good food, so anywhere in Portland.