Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Best Brochure Ever!



It’s a rare day at work when another product brochure isn’t added to the ever growing pile on the edge of my desk. So you’ll appreciate that it takes something pretty special to catch my attention. Well the new Townscape brochure is certainly special…

You’ll see from the snapshot above that they’ve attempted to give their range of concrete benches, bollards and bins some international glamour, with flashy background images of spectacular locations. They’ve also, and how can I put this, decided to turn the graphics up to 11... Yes it’s busy, it‘s very colourful too, but I just get the impression that it’s not been put together by someone who earns their living as a graphic designer. More on this later, but I think that the indications are, that their photoshopping wasn’t done by the same people that gave Kate Winslett the figure of Karen Carpenter for her Vanity Fair cover. In my mind, I’m imagining that the Townscape sales team have perhaps not had a great deal to do over recent months. At some point someone had the bright idea that instead of just sitting around playing solitaire and enjoying the occasional nip of the cooking sherry, they should make their product brochure ‘a bit more exciting’.





I should probably give you a bit of background about Townscape and where they fit into my world. Townscape are the masters of exposed aggregate concrete, which was incredibly popular for benches and bins in the 70’s and 80’s (see above). They even produced a ‘bomb-proof’ bin, for councils that were a bit worried about all the Irish people hanging round their town centres. However, it strikes me that Townscape are like the Englebert Humperdink of the street furniture world - successful in one era, but forever associated with it and their more contemporary work hasn‘t really matched their previous success. None of Townscapes newer products really work for me, and I’d offer the ‘golf’ related products below, as an illustration of this (see also Enge’s “Lesbian Seagull”).



However, I still regularly specify their products and I have enough interest in them to actually open the brochure and not just chuck it away. You see like Englebert has the classic ‘Please Release Me’, Townscape have the Citizen Jet bench. The image shown below is from Poole Arts Centre (thanks to Dave Prosser and Roger Griffiths Associates), and highlights what I think is so good about it. It’s an incredibly simple and chic concrete product, that really works in a wide range of settings. I literally specify it all the time.



Anyway, back to the brochure. As I leafed through I found myself feeling at first a little bemused, then incredulous, before finally bursting into laughter. I’ve put a few selected pages from the brochure in for people to enjoy. They reminded me a little bit of watching one of those old Jason and the Argonauts films, or maybe the first time you saw Frankie Howard in his little mauve, wig…


















I can only surmise that either the graphics department of Townscape are all visually dyslexic, or that they’ve got a really great sense of humour. I really hope it’s the latter. Well done guys, your brochure cheered me up no end!

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