Railways Studios

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Railways Studios: How a Government Design Studio Helped Build New Zealand

Authors: Neill Atkinson, Peter Alsop, Katherine Milburn & Richard Wolfe
Published by Te Papa Press

A definitive illustrated history of the graphic work of the railways studios.

On the 100th anniversary of its creation, this book celebrates Railways Studios – the design studio of the New Zealand Railways – and its role in helping build and connect New Zealand. It’s a surprising story: a government agency that produced advertising for any-and-all clients, and dominated outdoor advertising for over 65 years (1920–1987).

The Studios’ advertisements ranged from posters to painted billboards and brochures, and they decorated every city and town, creating a gallery of the street.

Whatever the promotion – from rail travel and tourism to enlistment in the army, clothing and health promotion – the Studios played a role. Thousands of its designs influenced public attitudes, shaping how New Zealanders saw themselves.

This definitive history of railways advertising is a time capsule of New Zealand life and examines the art of Railways Studios, detailing its formative place in New Zealand design and art history.


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