Book Review

July 4

How a government design studio helped build New Zealand

By: Peter Alsop, Neill Atkinson, Katherine Milburn and Richard Wolfe

For 65 years, the go-to designers who produced advertising for any-and-all clients was Railways Studios, were at the design studio of the New Zealand Railways. The Railways Studios decorated every city and town in New Zealand with outdoor advertising, turning the streets of the entire country into an art gallery. In what must have been an enormous feat, the authors of this book have collected and published 65 years’ worth of work from this “gallery”.

The arty advertisements ranged from the usual tea, tobacco, army enlistment, public safety messages and wines, to more obscure items such as roasted gravy salt and snake oil-style miracle health treatments.

Railways Studios (Te Papa Press) is an astounding conversation piece, an eye-feast of a look at Kiwi culture, consumerism and design from 1920 to 1987. – NW

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