Modern Railway Posters

Here, apparently, is a poster published by SouthEastern Trains, the company that runs the High Speed railway service between Folkestone and London.

It was reported in the local news section of the BBC website, and fed from the Kentonline newsfeed…I’m  not sure whether it is a print or digital thing.

It may not even qualify as a poster…sure, there is an image and some text, and a logo…but it is spectacularly poor, it lacks any kind of visual energy or dynamism. That sense of movement in design is important in expressing the dynamic combination of technology, speed and experience through the complete integration of form and content. Scale and colour, typography and image, are the defining characteristics of the modern poster…this has text and image and er…

The picture shows the earthworks on the shingle beach that are part of the make-ready for seafront development…in the distance is the harbour arm, and beyond that is the sea, and France. Where’s the romance in earthworks and dull light? Don’t they ahve creative suite?

In the foreground is part of the Leas coastal park…this is a unique feature of Folkestone’s greensward prom and the cliff and seafront are planted with mature trees throughout…I know that nothing is as grand as ruins, but the cranky steps are not so much Las Pozos (the Mexican surrealist garden by Edward James), as just plain dangerous…

Overall, this poster is a masterpiece of bleak fantasy, and is just like something from North Korea, but not in a good way.

Considering all the things that Folkestone has to offer, this is a disgrace…

Folkestone is, as a matter of record, the sunniest place in Britain…

It is an architectural expression of the shining-city by the sea…laid out as Holland Park on sea, and with distinguished architecture in a variety of styles and with a mature tree canopy throughout…it is grand and faded, but as I said, nothing is as grand as ruins.

Even Folkestone’s modern architecture is quite distinguished. Right opposite where this pictue was taken is a 1970s development by the architects of the Barbican in London.

The view of the harbour from the Leas is a classic, and features in some of the vinatge posters of Folkestone…it is a view that allows for the combination of different elements.

Ironically, Folkestone is thriving as a place where designers and artists can work and live. The town is full of images that could have been used to greater effect.

Co-incidentally, I posted before about a poster with this same view, here

The liquid graphic style of the 1920s poster references the painterly style of Vuillard…and captures the slightly dizzying sense that you get from the sunshine, heat and sea in Folkestone.

HG Wells, Folkestone’s local author, wrote about this dizzyness in a slightly different context in hist story, The New Accelerator (1901).

Considering that SE trains are running the fastest train service in Britain, they haven’t realy understood anything…it’s shoddy, shabby and lazy, and almost anyone could do better.

The seaside is all about romance and feeling…based on the therapeutic power of the sea and the psychology of carnival and liberation…the development of the seaside was entirely facilitated by the railways and by the elaboration of a specific architecture of pleasure (desire)….Historically, this has been communicated through posters…So many connections not made.

As I said earlier, where is the feeling in this?

It’s not in this image of North Korean style, desolation by the sea…

Redcar has a steelworks by the sea and manages to have more romance than the view in this image…grr!

This scores about 2/10, they should have another go.

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