Mapkin’s co-founders—who hail from Nuance’s iOS development team and MIT's Lincoln Laboratory—were at a critical phase with their product, a GPS app that adds a layer of personal experience in getting from point A to point B.
Mapkin’s users see their route in a new way—just the route itself, with key cross-streets and significant landmarks. People can also create their own custom maps, adding personal landmarks and points of interest, even recording their own turn-by-turn voice-overs. This enriches the space between origin and destination, and helps us enjoy the journey and not just the destination.
In approaching Mapkin’s vision, the Brand Hack team considered the product as an answer and worked backwards to determine the question—if the question at hand is “how can people enjoy the journey?”, Mapkin becomes a very strong answer. If their product changes or new features are added, they can assess the value of those changes and features in how well they help answer this core question.
Brand writer Angela Gaimari carried this concept through to Mapkin’s pitch. The concept of “copilot” figured heavily; humanizing navigation. The tone and cadence are friendly and invitational, factors that will help Mapkin’s audience perceive value in enjoying the journey.
Designer Ben Whitla’s identity succeeds on many levels. In the literal, it shows a map which, like Mapkin’s name, conjures the category right away: this is about navigation. We see the map as if it’s unfolding (a characteristic that was coordinated with Angela’s tag-line “the journey, unfolded”), communicating that the app expands a simple GPS-navigated journey into something fuller and more experiential.
Ben’s palette is a direct reflection of the app’s key qualities—qualities we look for in a good copilot.
Allana chose to shoot their group portrait in a landscape (not far from the CIC) that incorporated several key visual signifiers. The new architecture, old architecture, and scaffolding all serve the idea that landscapes are rich and changing.
Angela extended her pitch language into copy for a single-page marketing website, providing people with a brief, two-sentence description of Mapkin, the app’s key features, and team bios.
Erik’s design for Mapkin’s retina iOS icon.
Angela supported her writing approach with suggestions for in-app tone of voice.
Ben Whitla’s business card designs.
As the day wrapped and everything delivered, Mapkin, the Brand Hack team, and the community at CIC all agreed that the work—extending from core vision to communication tools—will be instrumental in attracting and securing the company’s first batch of users.