The Story Behind Stamen Maps

Aug 25, 2015

Stamen is a well-known San Francisco-based design and data visualization studio. Founded by Eric Rodenbeck in 2001, in the aftermath of the dot-com crash. Eric saw what digital media could do and knew he had to merge new digital practices with beauty and artistry. Since then, the studio has grown to a staff of thirteen and has established a reputation for its expertise in creating compelling interactive design and data visualization projects. It remains an independently owned and operated company.

Stamen Map DODOcase Liners

At DODOcase we use two different Stamen Maps to line our Stamen Maps Collection. The first being Toner: These high-contrast B+W (black and white) maps are featured in Stamen's Dotspotting project. They are perfect for data mashups and exploring river meanders and coastal zones. The second being Watercolor: Reminiscent of hand drawn maps, the watercolor maps apply raster effect area washes and organic edges over a paper texture to add warm pop. Watercolor was inspired by the Bicycle Portraits project.

 A Look Back on the History of Maps

Stamen has married modern day technology with the artistry and history of Cartography, which is the art of map making. The mixture of science, math and creativity that goes into map making has been estimated to be around 8,000 years old.

The earliest maps are actually not of this earth, but of the lesser explored regions of the stars, the galaxy, and constellations. From there, our earliest ancestors drew landmarks of their hunting grounds and trade areas on animal skins, clay tables, wood, and leather. Today's modern day maps have descended from the map-making techniques of the ancient Greeks.

Take a look at DODOcase and Stamen's mapped out collection here.

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Introducing the DODOcase Urban Backpack

Jul 27, 2015

For years we've heard you say you want a bag, well it's finally here! Earlier this year, we met Cleveland, another San Francisco maker, who for the past five years, has been designing and creating exactly the kind of American made bag we thought you would appreciate. With a classic minimalist style and a focus on strength through superior material and construction, Cleveland's handcrafted designs are the perfect fit for our brand. Cleveland first started making bags in high school as a boy scout backpacking through the Sierras. His background in sculpture and mechanical engineering led to this great looking design. 

Durable yet refined, made with heavy-duty waterproof Cordura Canvas with brown leather trim, base, and adjustable straps, this bag is as handsome as it is practical. Built to last, these Urban Backpacks are the optimal bag for city living and commuting. These USA made backpacks have a modern rugged everyday backpack made for the urban adventure, to support you from the boardroom to the park. Available is Navy, Olive Green, and Black.


Key Features:

  • Built to last a lifetime
  • Made with heavy-duty waterproof Cordura Canvas
  • High quality leather trim, base and straps
  • Brass Hardware
  • Thick foam back pad
  • Heavy-duty waterproof vinyl liner in tan
  • Built in padded 13" laptop sleeve & sealable internal pocket
  • Velcro roll-top closure
  • Three large exterior pockets, one front, two side
  • Plenty of room for books, notebook, extra-curricular activities, & lunch
  • Dimensions: 15"x 11"x 5.5", 15L of internal capacity (fits a 6-pack!)

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    Is Medium the Next Big Frontier for Content Marketing?

    Jan 13, 2015

    Here is an excerpt from an article written by Tessa Wegert, to view the full article click here

    Medium's capacity to host exclusive content as well as disperse existing material to new readers means it has something for everyone including small businesses who don’t have Fortune 500 resources.

    San Francisco-based DODOcase, maker of handmade cases for mobile devices, recognized an opportunity to educate audiences about a new product category on the site. The company recently ventured into virtual reality with toolkits, inspired by Google Cardboard, that turn smartphones into virtual reality (VR) viewers. A Kickstarter campaign was launched to fund their DIY VR kits. That required not only informational content, but a unique approach to amplifying it.

    We've had so many questions from customers about what VR is and why we're doing this, says Macy McGinness, VP of marketing with DODOcase. We felt like we needed to take a leadership position by developing content around VR, and Medium is the place to do that right out of the gate.

    To date, DODOcase has published three of five articles in a series created specifically for the site. Posts include a look at the technology behind the DODOcase VR viewer, a guide to third-party VR apps, and an exclusive interview with VR innovator Tony Parisi.

    Though primarily intended for consumers, the company's Medium profile has also proved useful to its business development staff, which is tasked with explaining the product’s value to potential business partners. The in-depth storytelling, the way the stories can be shared and interacted with that's huge, McGinness says. It's more than we could ask for from our blog.

    When it came to producing its Medium posts, DODOcase eschewed its usual in-house content development process for a marketing consultant who already knew the site well. A fresh publishing platform, McGinness explains, required a fresh perspective.

    The company chose Rob Goodman, who formerly worked in marketing at both Google and Simon & Schuster. Medium gives you that space to be a bit more free and open with ideas that circle around your core product but aren't directly tied to its promotion,” Goodman says. For brands, we talk about authenticity a lot in content marketing, but on Medium especially, that becomes really key.

    DODOcase's first post received 2,700 views and a 25 percent read ratio, while the second had a read ratio of 50 percent. I've been thrilled by people's reactions and the excitement around [the posts], McGinness says, adding that they played a part in ensuring the company's Kickstarter campaign reached its funding goal.

    In an age when 60 percent of consumers favor storytelling over traditional ads, smart brands will experiment with new publishing platforms. When the platform prizes good content, the medium really is the message.

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    Buy American and Do Your Part: Interview with Ball and Buck President Mark Bollman

    Dec 17, 2013

    We're big fans of the American lifestyle and gentleman's retailer Ball and Buck, and even bigger fans the eye-catching collaborative DODOcase we created together. We will answer the question why buy American made products? Mark Bollman, Ball and Buck president and founder sat down with us to talk about the importance of supporting and buying American made products, the joys of hunting with a DODOcase, and of course, camo.

    DODOcase: Can you tell us how you became involved in a collaboration with DODOcase?

    Mark: Ball and Buck is always looking to partner with the best companies in their field. When it comes to iPad cases, DODOcase is hands down the best. DODOcase and Ball and Buck also align at a core level. The two brands believe in offering products that are the highest quality and utilize natural materials to give customers products that not only feel like they will last a lifetime, but do. 


    You guys have done such a great job at capturing true American hunting-inspired attire. In your opinion, is it safe to say that camouflage will never go out of style? 

    I always say, the ideal Ball and Buck wardrobe is one that if you were packing your "last suitcase" everything in that suitcase would come from Ball and Buck. That's to say that you would want to pack Ball and Buck products not only because you trust the quality to last your the rest of your life, but also that you love how you look and feel wearing everything we make. At the core level of all our designs is actual purpose. In regards to our signature camo, I created the design based off the vintage military and duck hunting camouflage prints from WWII. It's not the new "HD" camo's of today but it works just as well. To this day I still do all my hunting in vintage camo, and I don't have any trouble hitting my limit. Our signature camo was created before camo was "in" and will stay far after. It's a pattern that is core to the hunting inspiration at the foundation of every product and represents the heritage values and high quality made in usa manufacturing that was in its heyday during the era when these types of camouflage prints were prevalent. 

    As a fellow American Made company, what do you consider some of the benefits of manufacturing in America?

     Where to begin...  I could probably write a book on this question but in an effort to keep this short I'll touch on a couple of the most important reasons.  #1 America has to make things.  We are a country built on a foundation of manufacturing and as much as we'd like to dream that we can employ the entire country with design, consulting, and management jobs its just not the reality.  American craftsmen have been and continue to be the best in the world. There is such a sense of pride American's have in their country that when a craftsman is stitching on the Made in USA label, you know damn well they are going to do their best work, and be proud of it.  #2 Making products in this country is the most critical component to future sustainability as a country.  Every $1 spent on USA made goods generates something like an additional $1.30 in additional revenue for the country. Its not just the actual factory making the iPad case, but the neighborhood printing supply shop, bamboo supplier, and UPS guy that also end up having a job because of that initial manufacturing process. When you realize that if everyone spent just an additional 5% on Made in USA products we would create 1 Million USA jobs it really puts into perspective how significant even small purchases make a greater impact. Take away: if everyone who reads this article buys the DODOcase X Ball and Buck iPad case you will be doing your part!  #gottafeedtheteam

    We heard that you personally hunt and field test everything you make and sell, how did the DODOcase preform out there in the wilderness?

    Well I hit my hunting limit the first morning while getting to surf the net in between ducks flying by so I'd say it could't have performed any better. 

    What iPad app would you say you use more frequently? Are any apps hunting specific?

    With hunting the weather largely determines your success in the field. So the weather app is a must. Other than that I like to be able to surf the net and answer work emails while I am out in the field. By having an iPad versus a traditional computer it is much easier to quickly set it down should some game come into range. Its really a great blind buddy no matter what you are hunting. That said - no headphones and dimmer to the lowest setting - you've still got to be paying attention!

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    Migrating Mural: Sierra Navada Bighorn Sheep

    Nov 19, 2013

    With similar missions to "Protect from Extinction" DODOcase and Ink Dwell have launched the Endangered Species Collection - an ongoing limited-edition series of custom iPad cases that uphold the traditional craft of bookbinding. With proceeds going to fund the Migrating Mural and the nonprofit Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association.The Endangered Species Collection is inspired by The Migrating Mural, a public art and conservation project launched by artist, science illustrator, and founder of Ink Dwell studio Jane Kim. Kim  is also the designer of DODOcase’s signature logo – the DODObird. We had the opportunity to ask some of our burning questions for the artist herself.

    Check out the Ink Dwell video to learn more about the Big Horned Sheep and the Migrating Mural Project here:

    DODOcase: Your relationship with DODOcase began with the creation of the famous DODObird painting that hangs in the entrance of our headquarters. It is such a stunning piece. How did the creation of this piece come about? 

    Kim: Patrick and Craig were looking for ways to brand the production house and we decided that modeling the painting after a vintage book cover would celebrate the artful craft of book binding and letterpress printing.

    DODOcase: Your passion for endangered migratory animals strikes us as unique and fascinating. Do you recall the first time you became interested in the migratory behaviors of animals? Can you tell us about it?

    Kim: The Migrating Mural brings attention to movements and travel routes of both animals and people. I first became interested in this intersection on one of my own long distance road trips. As I looked around the landscape in which I was traveling, I couldn't help but wonder what else was around me besides other cars and people. I began wishing there were murals on the sides of buildings that shared that information with me. 

    DODOcase: We truly admire your dedication to endangered animals, and miraculous effort made to increase public support and awareness of the endangered species. The Bighorned Sheep’s number dropped to just 100 in the early 1990s, yet has climbed up to 500. That’s incredible. How do you hope that the collaboration with DODOcase will help those numbers continue to grow?

    Kim: Most people have no idea these animals exist--even residents of the Eastern Sierra. People aren't going to protect and support something they know nothing about, so the first step of the Migrating Mural is to educate the public about these animals. With the Endangered Species DodoCase we can publicize these animals in a beautiful way that can become part of people's every day lives. As people hear the sheep's story, the hope is they will offer support and resources to organizations that work to such as the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep foundation and the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association. Volunteers can actually help track and relocate bighorn with the Department of Fish and Wildlife

    DODOcase: Lastly, we are curious about the future of your artistic endeavors with Ink Dwell. Can you tell us what you hope to focus on next?

    Kim: The bighorn Migrating Mural is a series of six murals and will be complete in the early of 2014. After that, I travel to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where I will begin painting a 100' x 40' mural covering the 400 million year evolution of birds. The mural will depict 300 species and will be unveiled in 2015 to celebrate the lab's centennial. 

    DODOcase Endangered Special Collection is now available for the iPad Air and iPad 2/3/4.

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    Pattern is Everywhere: Q&A with Payton and Brian of Flat Vernacular

    Oct 29, 2013

    What is your design process at Flat Vernacular?

    Our design usually starts with inspiration, which comes from many places. For instance, this year we’ve been looking at geometrics, altered geometrics, printing processes, layering, and natural materials. The concepts and ideas are then discussed between the two of us. We then go our separate ways to work individually on our ideas. After we’ve both visually articulated the concepts, we meet to discuss. We’re both instinctual in our process. Often our patterns come from small doodles in my notebooks, or from Brian’s love of exploring materials and process. Deciding what patterns make the final cut is usually easier than deciding which colors to use, which is typically the most difficult part of the process. From there, we screen print samples of the patterns in our studio, and then screen print the final colors at our printing facility in upstate New York.

    How did you get involved with DODOcase?

    We had been interested in extending our patterns and vision to other objects whenDODOcase contacted us and suggested a collaboration.  DODOcase was a great company to do this with for many reasons. It was perfect timing, and a match made in heaven.

    What about DODOcase made you want to do this collaboration? 

    We had seen DODOcase at J.Crew and thought they were really splendid. DODOcase holds similar beliefs about design and manufacturing, and that was vital and as company’s we have similar mission statements that fall in line with how we approach making our products. DODOcase produces in the United States, and are reviving manufacturing using an old artisanal method of making something contemporary, which is right in line with Flat Vernacular’s focus and method of making. A partnership between two small companies similarly intent on manufacturing in the USA only strengthens us both, as well as other American producers. They’re a small company like us and their product is well designed. 

    How did you decide on these three patterns for DODOcase?

    We wanted to highlight each of our particular styles. Beastly Guardians is one of our favorites, Eyelets has an interesting character, and Full Bloom Remix is our latest and greatest.

    Can you talk about the designs of each pattern and what you’d like people to take from each?

    Beastly Guardians pattern is more of a traditional pattern. One of our first ones, it now has the pleasure of being in the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Museum. The idea behind the pattern is that each of the individual beasts is the protector of the person whose home they reside in – the fierce look each animal has (minus the mild Pigeon) is one of positive protection.

    Eyelets is a tongue-in-cheek pattern. From a distance, Eyelets appears to be a pattern constructed from lace. However, upon closer inspection, the viewer sees that the ‘lace’ is actually made up of individual eyes. It’s meant to be both tongue in cheek, and even a little bit creepy. The idea behind the pattern is positive though – eyes are a common design element across many cultures. In our case, we fall in line with the idea that the more eyes in a room the better off you are- since the eyes are our ancestors watching and protecting us. Also, the more eyes that are in one room, the less likely someone will be to steal or misbehave.

    Full Bloom Remix is one of our new explorations into pattern making. It utilizes imagery from our Full Bloom pattern, but in a new way – it’s printed out of order, or “off-register.” It’s part of our recently released concept for 2013 entitled “The Layers Project.” The Layers Project pushes patternmaking to an interesting new level through exploring printing process and non-matching wallpapers. It’s meant to be joyful, colorful, and fun.

    Are you going to carry your iPad in a customized FV DODOcase?

    Absolutely. I (Payton) am an iPad owner and as an avid reader of printed books I love that my technology will be housed in a book form.  The iPad is so handy to take to meetings and to give presentations for Flat Vernacular. Also, it’s perfect for when I can’t sleep and want to watch Downton Abbey from the comfort of my bed.

    Is there anything else you’d like for us to know?

    Pattern makes Perfect! Paint is boring, Pattern is best!


    Payton modeling Beastly Guardians custom DODOcase



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    Interview with Stamen Founder Eric Rodenbeck

    Oct 29, 2013

    1. How did you get involved with DODOcase?

    Patrick saw the maps at Stamen and reached out to us directly.

    2. Did you know about DODOcase before hand?

    I’d heard of them and seen a couple when they first came out (my partner at Stamen, Shawn Allen, bought one for his first iPad), but didn’t know about the personalization until I took a closer look.

    3. What about DODOcase made you want to do this partnership/collaboration?

    It’s the craft of it. We get approached by a lot of product people and DODOcase stood out for the quality. We’ve been working with Soft Cities on custom map blankets and napkins, and this felt like a natural next step.



    4. Are you going to carry your iPad in a customized SD DODOcase?

    Of course! We worked with DODOcase on several rounds of prototypes before the launch, so we’ve got some custom maps of where our studio is in the Mission, Golden Gate Park, London. We’re hoping that the styles are popular enough that people want maps of their own houses, businesses, places where they got married and so on. That could be pretty great.

    5. What’s your favorite thing/feature about the iPad?

    Alerts. I love that I can control the things that I care enough about to let people send me when something’s changed. I use it a lot less than my iPhone, so whenever I pick it up, there’s something new for me that I’m interested in.

    6) How did you start Stamen Design – why maps?

    I’ve been interested in maps since as long as I can remember - it probably started with all those Conan and Lord of the Rings books I read as a kid. Plus my parents are German immigrants and it was very important to them that I know things like all the European capitols, so we used to look at books of maps all the time. I’ve always had a sense of my history being from another place, so location and maps have always been really important to me.

    Stamen started after I’d tried my hand at starting interactive design companies and failed, twice. I had a lot of fun but made some business decisions and lost a lot of money. It was tough going for a while and I wasn’t quite sure what to do next. So when I read that the average successful business person in the United States is on their fourth try, I realized I was actually ahead of the curve, took the lessons I’d learned from those previous mistakes, and tried again. That was in 2001.

    Maps were just starting to really come online in 2003, and was weighing in heavily in the Bush v. Kerry elections. I had been working with maps at my first dot com company, which covered online sports events during Delusion 1.0, so I had some experience turning maps into engaging experiences on the web. MoveOn asked us to make a couple of maps for their campaigns, and before we knew it we were pretty much working for them full time during the whole election cycle. We didn’t win the election, but we came away with a ton of experience in the pressure cooker of maps in the service of online storytelling.

    We took that code and used it on a project called Mappr, which took photos from Flickr and put them on a map well before google maps or any of that kind of thing, and from there we were off and running. We really like taking our commercial projects and turning them into experimental projects, and then turning the tables and using our experiments in our commercial projects.

    7) What is your design process in general for Stamen Design?

    This is a highly collaborative studio, and we’re constantly talking about how things should look, feel, work and flow. The process can take a little longer than a more traditional process, but it’s important for us and for our clients to make sure that we’ve taken the time for good ideas to flourish. I’m personally motivated by seeing new things, things that haven’t been in the world before. Other people here are more about clarity of code, or making something hang together just so. It’s messy some times but it works.

    8) How did you decide on these three maps for DODOcase? Was it difficult to narrow them down to just one design per city?

    It was super difficult! We needed to use San Francisco, of course, since we live here and love the place, but it was really hard to pick the rest. We’re hoping that enough people say “hey, where’s my town?” that we can come out with more cities soon.

    9) Is there anything else you’d like for us to know?



    Also we’ve launched so that everyone can design their own maps; it’s a great place to go for design inspiration and to see what designers are doing with custom cartography.

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