Wallpaper* City Guides

A highly popular travel book series meets a revolutionary ecosystem. This is the story of how Phaidon requested Spoiled Milk to bring their Wallpaper* City Guides to the iPhone platform.

The Challenge

Phaidon Press is the world’s leading publisher of books on the visual arts, with offices and distributors worldwide, and a history dating back to 1923. Last year, the publishing house was looking for ways to push their Wallpaper* City Guides into new digital formats and had fallen for the outstanding usability of the iPhone.

In Phaidon’s own words, “Wallpaper* City Guides present a tightly edited, discreetly packaged list of the best a location has to offer the design conscious traveller. Here is a precise, informative, insider’s checklist of all you need to know about the world’s most intoxicating cities.”

The iPhone and iTunes platform is a revolutionary ecosystem that not only brings an intuitive new interface to the mobile industry, but also opens Apple’s tested iTunes model and fan base to a whole new market. As the community grows, so does the users’ expectations that their favourite services will be available for the iPhone.

The match between the audience of the Wallpaper* City Guides and the users of iPhones and iPod Touches was striking and the decision to bring the unique content of Wallpaper* City Guides content to the mobile format appeared mandatory.

Phaidon decided to start out by producing 10 iPhone applications for the best-selling books: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Paris, Rome and Tokyo. With proven skills in merging strategy, technology and aesthetics, Spoiled Milk was chosen as the digital partner for the project.

Our Solution

The look, logic and structure of the Wallpaper* City Guide iPhone apps largely follow those of the printed books. Clean design, simplicity and consistency.
In the section ‘the city at a glance’, a horizontally gliding image features a number of handpicked locations around the city. The different neighbourhoods of each city are characterised by varying colours and each area contains a list of places to visit. What you are able to spot in the city’s skyline is likely to be included in ‘landmarks’ with more information about the site.

You are able to filter by hotels, cafés, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, architecture, shopping, sports and out-of-town activities. If you only have a limited amount of time to spend in the given city, ’24 hours’ tips you on how to spend your time, or you can choose to receive tips from an insider – e.g. Berlin’s gallerist Lisa Bosse.

The GPS comes into play when choosing ‘Directions’ on the bottom of each item page, which takes you directly to a Google Maps visualisation of the route from your current location to the requested destination.


  • Client: Phaidon
  • Media: Mobile applications,  CMS
  • Industry: Media
  • Market: Global
  • Launch year: 2009
  • Technologies: iOS, MeeGo, Windows Phone 7
  • CMS: Casein (Ruby on Rails)
  • Project contact: Frederik Cordes