Home » This Is Just A Charming Brochure For A Big Bus: Cold Start

This Is Just A Charming Brochure For A Big Bus: Cold Start

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I’m definitely a huge sucker for mid-century graphic design and illustration, and I came across a particularly charming example I’d like to share with you today. It’s from 1957, and it’s a brochure for a Büssing Trambus TU10. Now, what caught my eye were the really engaging and somewhat whimsical illustrations used in this simple two-color brochure, but what caught my mind, you see, is a question I’ve always had about appealing brochures like these for massive things like trambuses or garbage trucks or other similar heavy-duty equipment that is likely to only be bought by some municipality or town or something: who were these brochures for?

Before we get into that question, which I don’t think I have a good answer to, anyway, let’s just look for a moment at this brochure, and the bus itself.

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Are you familiar with Büssing? Were you buying equipment for the public transportation systems of a European town between the 1930s and 1971? Take a moment to check if you may have forgotten, I don’t mind waiting. If so, then you likely already know that Büssing was one of the biggest bus and truck manufacturers, and you’ve probably already marveled at how the founder’s name, Heinrich Büssing, is somehow the perfect name for someone who makes buses? If his name had been Heinrich Sportzcar, would I be writing this about a brochure for an amazing little roadster?

But, that’s not how it played out, did it? Büssing made some of the first real full-sized buses – some sources say the Büssing III GL 6 was the world’s first full-sized bus, and while I’m not sure I completely agree, it’s telling. Anyway, let’s finally look at this Trambus TU10 brochure:

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For one thing, look at that face, with all those deco-style chrome ribs! They really didn’t skimp on the chrome, did they? It’s almost a full grille there at that point, even if it doesn’t need one; now that I think about it, I’m not certain where the radiator is?

Anyway, it’s the illustration of the town in the background that caught my attention. It’s such a simple little drawing, clean confident lines, and great use of spot color and halftones and patterns. I imagine those were applied from these sort of transfer sheets that old designers used. Look at how that streetlight, done just in spot color and some repeating square pattern on the lens, feels like it’s in the foreground, and it’s so clean and reduced to its fundamental forms – it’s just fantastic. All of this is just prime graphic artist work of the time, masterful and casual all at once.

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The other page of the brochure has a nice full shot of this huge trambus, and some good technical bits, like the “unterfloor” motor, which seems to be an inline-6 diesel, laid on its side, for a very compact package. The engine seems to be bolted to a six-speed transmission, too, it looks like?

Let’s get back to my unanswered question, though: who are these brochures for? They’re lovely and charming and feel like consumer-level things, but regular people aren’t buying trambuses. Is this the sort of thing that would be sent to, say, a purchasing manager for some mid-size German town? I guess good design is just good design, and maybe this helps it stand out from a big stack of bus brochures, but you’d think these would all be more, I don’t know, municipal? Business-like? No-frills?

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They were probably requisitioned in some RFP or something like that, right? Some mayor wasn’t just walking down to the local Trambus Emporium and grabbing a stack of brochures? Were they? I don’t know how major bus purchasing in mid-century Europe worked at all, I’m realizing.

I have so much growing up to do.

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EricTheViking
EricTheViking
6 days ago

Uerdingen is also known for producing those charming little railbuses in Germany.

The Büssing lion logo has a strong resemblance to one used by MAN truck, van, and bus manufacturer.

Lotsofchops
Lotsofchops
6 days ago

I don’t quite know if it’s an illusion but the buildings seem slightly canted to the right. I dig it, it feels like they’re somewhat jostling for position in a crowded space.

Mike F.
Mike F.
7 days ago

Love the design of the bus with the cityscape. Looks like something from the opening credits of a late-career Audrey Hepburn movie.

Twobox Designgineer
Twobox Designgineer
7 days ago

Not only the great spot color, but also those spot texture screens are great.

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
7 days ago

Those look like Zip-A-Tone screentone patterns.

DysLexus
DysLexus
7 days ago

This is purely speculation:

My guess is that 1957 Germany had only a limited number of advertisement artists. So the VP of marketing found the only artist available who happened to be very prolific at cityscape illustrations. They went with it and then the technical artist plastered the bus overtop…

Or else, the typical grassy knoll with happy smiling kids in knickers fishing in a nearby stream backdrop was already taken that year.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
7 days ago

Mount it in a big frame with a shredder and it should fetch 1.4 million.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
7 days ago

Giant Toothbrush Overlord leans in… “The city is yours, young bus. Do with it as you please.”

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
7 days ago
Reply to  Sid Bridge

Spoken in a James Earl Jones voice

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
7 days ago

Weimar Germany (the period between the two wars) was a very creative, artistic and inspired era, especially in Berlin. Political and economic instability aside, it was a fascinating time for the German people with culture almost running counter to the German stereotype. Honestly, I’m not surprised a brochure of this caliber for municipal equipment was designed.

Twobox Designgineer
Twobox Designgineer
7 days ago

From what I’ve read, this is definitely true. Very creative modernist visual art happening. As the Bad Guys came to power, it was labeled degenerate art and banned. But Jason is the expert who could elaborate on this.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
7 days ago

To expand your thoughts, postwar West Germany did embrace the art and style of both Weimar Germany but with further international influences. In my opinion it’s an expansion and improvement of the Weimar era and the Bauhaus that is the most famous institution of that era.

I’ve known several designers and artists from German schools, and all were highly talented, creative, and almost unexpectedly fun people. Based on my knowledge of their work, this brochure seems to be the type of thing that would have been used as an example during their schooling.

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
7 days ago

There is a museum in Wolfsburg called the Heinrich Bussing-Haus in an old smithy. See,Wolfsburg is famous for more than it’s eponymous castle.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
7 days ago

Eighty percent of our brain is used for image processing. If you can appeal to that majority, you’ve created positive emotion. Seeing is believing and believing is seeing are two sides of the same coin. At its base, this brochure is meant to conjure desire for this bus above all others.

A. Barth
A. Barth
7 days ago

Nifty! The brochure states that having the engine under the floor allows the entire floor to be usable space (“Nutzraum”). That configuration also keeps the undesirable influences (“unerwünschte Einflüsse”) of the engine from getting into the passenger compartment – specifically noise, smell, and heat.

The base transmission is a 5-speed, but the 6-speed is optional if you wish (“Auf Wunsch”). Also available are a tachometer, an odometer, and a clock. The engine makes 150hp at 2000rpm, so you’ll definitely want that tach!

It’s odd: the 6MT is described as “Allklauen”, which means “all claws”. I’m wondering if that means “constant-mesh” in this context.

AlterId
AlterId
7 days ago
Reply to  A. Barth

Before anyone else with juvenile tastes in humor chimes in, let me be the first to emphasize just how important ample Nutzraum is on public transportation.

A. Barth
A. Barth
7 days ago
Reply to  AlterId

“Nutz” rhymes with “foots”, not “nuts”.

It’s part of the verb benutzen, which means “to use”.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
7 days ago

This is the brochure you send to the mayor and the city council. They’re the ones you want to attract with good design and shiny bits. Once you’ve got their eyes (and they control the purse strings), they call the head of transportation and say “Have you seen these Bussing busses?!? So fun and whimsical! The citizenry will love them (and reward us with votes)!”

Then the head of transportation requests and gets a brochure that shows all the oily bits. They will then let the mayor and council know it’s a giant pile of excrement, to which the mayor et al will reply “But… shiny!!!” and authorize buying them anyway.

Two years later, when the busses are constantly broken and the citizens are demanding that heads roll, the head of transportation will be fired.

Thanks to good graphic design.

Last edited 7 days ago by StillNotATony
Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
7 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

This. Even the most bureaucratic, “rational” purchasing processes involve emotion, and some decision-makers have more clout than others. Modern marketers receive this as some kind of revelation delivered by high-priced consultants (a marketing triumph in itself). But I guess it’s been intuitively understood for much longer.

ES
ES
7 days ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

yeah, i work in media placement, and i always get annoyed when we have a national campaign of 7-8 figures, but we spend all our time babysitting the small local market campaign that we overlay in whatever city the client is headquartered. I get it, keep in the clients’ consciousness and keep them coming back, but the national numbers should be enough to my thinking; if their national sales are up, it works, regardless if the COO’s wife see’s the spot during the morning traffic report.

Aaron Headly
Aaron Headly
7 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I can also picture this brochure stacked on a table at a trade show.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
7 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I could not describe my workplace more succinctly if I tried.

Ash78
Ash78
7 days ago

This brochure is such a nice way to tell a Dutch civil servant “Hey, the Germans are back in town, but we promise it’ll be much more awesome this time!”

Also, I need a “Bussing” shirt for my middle schooler. Everything they do is aparently “Bussing.” No cap! Rizz. Mew. Etc

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