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Travel Guide Books Get a Redesign

Three new travel series reimagine what a guidebook can be by putting design at the forefront.

Travel Guide Books Get a Redesign
Moleskine City Notebook | Photograph by Jeff Harris
Moleskine City Notebook | Photograph by Jeff Harris

1. Ideo Eyes Open

The innovation-and-design firm brings its fresh eye to a travel book ($22.95) with 50 photo-saturated, offbeat experiences in a flip-chart format. The aim? To inspire travelers to look up from their sightseeing itineraries and explore their surroundings. "We decided to take all of our own photos," says author Fred Dust, an Ideo partner, "because the way you see is so reflective of the stories you tell." London and New York got Ideo-ized first; expect more cities ahead.

2. Inside Out

Globe Pequot Press's InsideOut guides ($11.95) pair photo-heavy travel recommendations with pop-out maps and travel-toy perks such as a pen, light, and compass. It's all packaged in a sleek, silver exterior that's meant to have a "techie" feel. The annotated, origami-like maps are the stars, though, and the centerpiece of the series. InsideOut will add 45 new books this year, ranging from food- and shop-specific guides for San Francisco and Paris to ski- town tours for Aspen and Vail.

3. Moleskine City Notebook

Like everything Moleskine, City Notebook ($17.95) is exactly what you make of it. Those who like to document as much as discover will delight in its more than 150 blank pages for jotting recommendations, notes, and anecdotes. Sticky tracing paper overlaid on street maps lets travelers chart their course again and again. All of the 29 books in the line, for such cities as Montreal, Rome, and Seattle, include foldout maps and travel info, as well as Moleskine's trademark accordion pocket to store ticket stubs and receipts.

A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2008 issue of Fast Company magazine.