The old mariners knew how a ship’s name could affect its destiny. They tried to avoid words related to fire, lightning or storms, and never changed the name of a ship that had already been baptized. Iconography was also important. The monstrous figureheads on Viking ships were aimed at scaring the approaching enemy, while the eyes on Chinese prows meant that the ship was a living creature that would eventually lead its crew on the right route.
Today icons and meanings on transport design are no longer related, notes Taylor Holland. On the buses he photographed for his Eurobus project, the medium has no message. And that's exactly what he loves: "Typically, graphic designers are working to communicate, and in this case they are given a blank canvas, very little copy, and no message. It's interesting to me that these graphics exist in the grey area between graphic design and graphic art.”
Holland has always been attracted to the colorful and the odd. Eurobus is a book that features 58 photos of graphics found on European tour buses, shot during Holland’s bicycle commutes in Paris: "I was riding through the Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower and several hundred meters away I saw a bus with an amazing rainbow graphic on it. As I rode closer, it drove away, and I couldn't catch up. In the days that followed I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I started looking around."
"Buses from Spain are usually colorful, Polish ones are very strange.” Holland dedicated the book to the anonymous designers of European tour bus graphics, who have taken an anonymous art space and made it theirs. Something he would like to try soon: “I have several ideas and would love to design one myself."
Taylor Holland is an artist and designer whose work can be found at taylorho.com. Eurobus, a collection of 58 photos is out now on Matmos Press in Montréal, Canada (matmospress.com).