Remote Scottish Postboxes

Remote Scottish Postboxes
Martin Parr Foundation
Parr’s first major contribution to landscape photography. Published by RRB Publishing and launched at the opening of the Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol. "These isolated, red outposts of civilisation each take on a character and personality of their own against the lonely yet beautiful Scottish backdrop."

The design challenge was to design a book & postcard series (form, graphics, editorial) around a small photo series. The format and style is derived directly from the postboxes. Old & new Royal Mail designs, styles & systems were combined to enhance the unique nature of each postbox in each photograph. The result is a pure concept design in which form, graphics & editorial are directly inspired by the photography.

Image: © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos. Tearsheet. Remote Scottish Postboxes Book. Published by RRB Photobooks. 2017. Courtesy Martin Parr Foundation.

The book is a box containing packages. Each chapter is a 'package'. Binding and typography are from 19th century postboxes. Each package is placed in the box geographically by island from North to South.

Binding & typography
Each section is Singer-sewn, a hand & typography are C19th equivalents.

“When you are in the middle of nowhere, in a bleak landscape and in wild weather, these little post boxes are strangely comforting, a sign that other people are around, that life is going on, and that you are connected to the world” — Susie Parr

Read The Herald article 'Bravely gleaming out against this ever-changing backdrop, the bright red of the post boxes is always the same.'

Read 'A Photographers Love of Remote Scottish Postboxes' on BBC News.

Watch the book on Vimeo by PhotoBookStore.

Each page uses graphics to locate each postbox using the Royal Mail's own internal postbox referencing system.

Tom Groves at The Martin Parr Foundation painstakingly researched the details of each placard on each photograph. The information gathered map references, collection times and unique codes were used to create a system of graphic symbols unique to each postbox.

Each postbox is geolocated together with information on collection times. The GPS coordinates were translated into imperial coordinates more in-keeping with the19th Century chronometers.
As well as maps, captions & graphics, the Royal Mail codes were converted into barcodes using the Royal Mail's own barcode creation software.

Special Edition
The special edition is in a card-backed envelope. Postage is prepaid using unfranked vintage Scottish-themed stamps. A signed postcard from Parr says “Wish you were here.”


Postcard box
There's a die-cut hole in the postcard box. The postcard trim size is traditional ’L5’ standard.