MapQuest provides mapping and direction tool services and up until a few years ago was the site for directions before Google Maps so rudely interrupted with its fancy street views and instant directions to and from anywhere. Today MapQuest is fighting back with the launch of a new identity and a web site that has been completely redesigned.

New Logo

First, a little pictorial history of the logo. MapQuest was acquired by AOL in 2000 and used this quirky logo with a bevel, drop shadow and cartoon dashes at each end:


In a very un-web 2.0 move, the logo was later updated and changed to this simpler version sans effects:


The new brand identity launched today features some significant changes, the most obvious being the change of color and typeface. The comic style font has been changed in favour of a lower-case sans-serif font with “mapquest” in purple and a stylize letter m and Q in bright green.


The new logo design was created by brand consultancy Wolff Olins who said the makeover was designed to emphasize a new focus and positioning for the brand.

Website Overhaul

As well as the new branding, the site design and functionality has also had an overhaul with user-friendliness being an important factor. New features include:

• A single- line search box and a redesigned main page that displays the map more prominently.

• Ability to search for “temporal types of content,” such as a fireworks show for July 4 or haunted houses at Halloween.

• My Maps lets you personalize, save, and share maps, directions and collections of favorite places.

Future plans include allowing users to upload photos to build a community social-networking feel.


You can see the new changes to the site and logo at, which is currently in Beta but should be fully rolled out on the main site by August.

What do you think about the new logo redesign? How do you think MapQuest will fare against Google Maps?

Jennifer Farley is a designer, illustrator and design instructor based in Ireland. She writes about design and illustration on her blog at Laughing Lion Design.

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  • Chris McKee

    Its about time, that was one ugly website

    • scotty

      I used to work for MapQuest and preferred Google even then, as did a number of my colleagues. I’ll be interested to see how the new site works, but I’m a loyal Google user now…

  • mike-z

    They made their site more like google maps…

  • fendeanson

    Who really uses mapquest, I mean, really? I like the new logo a lot better, but I don’t know if it will really change anything for them.

  • W2ttsy

    steps for building a google maps competitor:

    1) change logo from comical font to sans-serif with pictographic logo
    2) reskin google maps
    3) get picked up on tech blogs like sitepoint

  • jwolfe

    Mapquest has now masterfully eroded their identity and effectively created a Google Map clone.
    They win first prize for brand identity destruction.

  • psychobeing

    It’s a real shame that MapQuest haven’t really redesigned themselves but rather one of their biggest competitors – Google Maps. If you put both websites side by side, I guarantee that there will only be the difference of some button placements and colour changes.

    However, I say good luck to MapQuest for sticking their necks out and going for a full redesign since the old website was really showing its age. There are some nice little features to the site too, such as the quick-click buttons above the large and very accessible map viewer.

  • Stevie D

    OK, so they’ve got a new logo, but I don’t choose a map site because of its logo, I choose it because it has good maps and is easy to use. And on all of the counts that count, Mapquest is still utterly abysmal.

    1. Maps are damn ugly
    2. Horizontal and vertical scales are different so it is stretched too wide, making it even uglier.
    3. Doesn’t recognise UK postcodes, which is THE way that people search for addresses.
    4. Doesn’t recognise names of streets or towns – keeps either throwing up error messages or “correcting” search terms to something completely wrong – I can’t check the route-finding because I simply can’t get it to recognise two places or addresses correctly.
    5. Icons are all US-based, which is horrible for directions in Europe.
    6. Satellite view even less detailed (around my home) than Yahoo, you can barely make out where the town is, whereas Google and MSN have had shots where you can see individual bushes in my garden for years.

    Sorry, but thinking that a new logo is going to make this site a success is so far off-beam it’s a joke. From what I can see, it has NO redeeming features, it has NO areas where it can even claim to be in the same game as Google Maps, let alone better, and there is NO reason AT ALL to use this over Google, Yahoo, Bing, a paper map, or just following your nose and asking people when you get lost.

  • JHig310336

    I applaud MQ for their redesign efforts. Though the new design stills from both competitor Google (layout and Bing Maps (icons and user ideas). I guess of you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

    MQ will never be able to compete isn’t because of their out-dated design but because of mapping technology. Users left them for Google because Google offered a better, accurate, and faster mapping app. Even Bing maps gives Google Maps some validated competition. I do believe this is a start for MQ and expect MQ to compete with the big two (YAHOO not included).

    On a side not, Google Maps is soooo cool to where you get this interactive map that moves as if you’re driving the route, with labels of the building. Its as if I’ve got GPS on my computer. I suspect Google may add GPS Geo-location to the app. Would work for those of us with mobile internet with GPS.

    Screen shot of my street using Google maps:

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