The magic ingredient? Just add Herb

I’ve been slowly and somewhat unwittingly accumulating Herb Lester’s catalogue of quirky travel guides and paraphernalia.


It started off with a key fob:


that was given to me as a gift – each comes with its own number though so far mine doesn’t appear to have admitted me into any kind of elite traveller’s club, it just helps make sure I don’t misplace my keys. There are six keyrings in the Secret Club Tags range – archery society, penpal club etc – the design was inspired by classic hotel keys.

Other travel accessories include these vintage-style luggage tags:


They’re more durable than they look. Herb Lester claims that they’re “printed on almost indestructible Tyvek®, a 1950s miracle product that looks like paper but resists tears and water.”

Other printed goodies include the pocket travel map-guides which range from the straightforward (Berlin, Barcelona) to the inspired (Paris for pleasure-seekers, Clandestine London). Some of my favourites include:

A London Pub for All Reasons

A London Pub for All Reasons

…and its State-side equivalent:

A Manhattan Bar for all Reasons

A Manhattan Bar for all Reasons

and when you need sustenance

New York Burger Map

New York Burger Map

…which comes in a greasproof paper bag with a refreshing towel sachet for those sticky fingers.

How to Find Old Los Angeles

How to Find Old Los Angeles

Each is produced as a fold-out pocket map done in colourful, vintage graphic styling with text on stand-out attractions or landmarks, though no two are alike. In this digital era, it’s refreshing to see printed travel guides such as these thriving – and with such strong graphic identity, these are as much collector’s items as they are guidebooks. It’s not often that you buy a travel guide to a place you have no intention to visit, but you just might do with Herb Lester’s. And then they’ll probably make you want to go anyway.


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