Face to face

BP booklet by Maurice Laban

This booklet is a Conversation Guide from BP, for the motorist on his or her travels. The driver who may have had a question about a chassis, a tyre pump, something to buy at a BP service station or a speedometer, could reach within. Upon reaching their hotel, those who might want a second pillow, some bandaging material, stamps, a roll film or a page boy, could find just the right words to make themselves understood. Translated in to 12 languages.

How could anyone resist taking this booklet on their travels? Such a grand cover would surpass conversational endeavours and language barriers. And open the right doors without need for words.

Those faces are the work of Maurice Laban, a little known commercial artist of rather large talent. The chap at the BP Archive hasn’t got a copy of this particular booklet and was unable to help with specific dates. But he did tell me the nice windmill logo on the cover – for the BP Touring Service – started in the mid-1950s and continued through the 1960s. This booklet is, I think, c1960. Ascertained from a number on the inside cover – a method I often use to date things, as do the BP Archive, they tell me.

I like the clichés in this illustration. They all look so darn happy to be representing their countries. Well, and why wouldn’t they in those hats? Maurice Laban illustrated some other nice travel things that have proliferated around the web, yet not led to anything more discoverable about him. Oh, for a few hours rampaging in the stacks at the NAL again..

BP booklet Maurice Laban