Digital Futures

Populous Map

Identity // online

Populous Map is an interactive map designed to teach people about the hidden history of British Columbia. The founder, Laura Cuthbert, is an expert storyteller with a deft sense of humour and knack for making history accessible.

Our work with Populous Map included developing a brand identity that would capture Laura’s enthusiasm for exploring British Columbia’s many ghost towns; as well as a website with an easy to use, interactive map featuring key points in local history.

We will always consider this one of the most meaningful projects we’ve worked on, as it is important that we engage with the shared histories from a decolonial lens. We are grateful that Laura trusted us with her vision.

“Jasmine and Chris are amazing listeners. They’ll help you sort through your dreams, give great advice, and always make something beautiful for you to see, use, and share.”

–Laura Gaaysiigad Cuthbert, Founder

Fig. 1 – Populous Map website
1.

What was your vision for Populous Map?

The vision was to make community and social mapping project accessible, easy, and fun. But most importantly, to actually reach folks and share the information we were coming across when archiving rural, hidden, and private archives across BC.

2.

Do you feel like the branding and website accurately captured your vision?

The branding was beyond anything I could have envisioned, you did an amazing job. Over the years I saw a few other maps start to use a slightly similar backing, I’d dare to say you were ahead of your time! The website still looks classy, the colours are timeless, and I’m still just as excited to share with folks. Also, our SEO is still killer.

Fig. 2 – Populous Map on locations

3.

Did anything surprise you about the process?

Just how hands on or hands off it could be. The times I said I don’t know, you ran with it, when I shared a vision, you had me over to eat a cheese plate and share it through mouthfuls of crackers. You’re also brilliantly community driven.

4.

How did your audience/community react to the site?

They loved it, it was definitely built to what we asked for. Now, as I know more about our data’s needs, I know that the updates are also possible through you. People have also asked for the backend code to build similarly structured timelines, which is such a gift I can offer! It’s a great success.

Fig. 3 – Populous Map identity

5.

Did the website open any doors for you?

Having a gorgeous and impressive landing page absolutely made us more legit, opened doors, and had people reaching out.

6.

What is next for Populous Map (or Laura)?

After so much work on the map, I think we are switching lanes to do more grassroots digitizing and relationship building. It will be less about our archive and map tools than ever, but they certainly got our foot in the door. Now we’re holding the door for ourselves! It’s time to actually go through it and keep connecting with the nearly 100 private historians, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers we’ve connected with! Just what we always hoped for.

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