When people talk about Swindon being a town of great opportunities, personal experience tells me that’s a fact and not just another marketing slogan.
I was born and raised in Swindon (the old Princess Margaret Hospital) and it has moulded me as a person, a professional, and over the last decade as a business owner.
One of the things I love about Swindon is that it’s such a democratic town. Working with clients in places like London, Oxford or Bath, I sometimes get the impression it’s all about who you know, not what you know – which school you went to, or where you play golf. In Swindon by contrast, nobody gives a hoot where you come from; people judge you by who you are and what you can offer professionally.
When I started my career as a budding graphic designer 22 years ago, nobody in Swindon ever looked down their nose at me because I was brought up on a council estate (Park South then Pinehurst) or went to a ‘rough’ comprehensive. On the contrary, they judged me purely on my passion and work ethos and what I could do for their business. That hasn’t changed, and as a person with a mix of English, Indian and Italian heritage, I am proud of the way Swindon continues to embrace newcomers, whether they’re from Poland, Portugal or Pakistan. To this day, the town’s young entrepreneurs speak a common language – “Let’s go for it and put Swindon on the map!”
I am also proud that my company, Jazzbones Creative, has such strong roots in the local community and that our business success is built on local talent. Every member of our design team is Swindon born and bred, but that doesn’t stop us pitching for work in competition with big city design and branding agencies – and often winning! Several of my team have done their time in London, Bristol and even Spain, but at the end of the day they’ve decided the ‘grass is not always greener’ and have returned to Swindon because it’s such a great place to live and fulfil their ambitions.
Like them, I am a firm believer in Swindon as a tremendous place to work, rest and play. When I went to school, the standard of education in Swindon was, to say the least, uneven; but as the father of teenage daughters, I am delighted at the educational and training opportunities now on offer. And given the amount of forward-looking companies based here, I know my girls will have plenty of professional opportunities if they choose to stay living close to mum and dad! As I always tell them, we’ve got the established multinationals and funky start-ups alike.
Like all smaller towns, Swindon has its cultural purists who will always insist that the next big thing is to be found somewhere else. To those people I would say this; if Lydiard Park, Coate Water, Town Gardens, The Weighbridge, Los Gatos, Helen Browning Chophouse, Bardolino, the Designer Outlet, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, The Bohemian Balcony, Oink, RPM Records, and a very long etcetera were in London or Brighton people would be queuing up to sing their praises. It’s time the naysayers ‘switched on to Swindon’!
To celebrate Swindon and its world of opportunities the team at Jazzbones Creative - led by ace designer and illustrator Mitchell - have designed a range of vintage inspired travel posters and postcards that tie in with my life journey, but also promote Swindon’s 'hidden gems'.
1. Coate Water Country Park – As a young boy brought up in Shaftesbury Avenue in Park South, Coate Water was a short bike ride away. I had great pleasure in feeding the ducks and riding the miniature railway (it’s still working!). Who can ignore the imposing structure of the old diving board – a great Instagram photo opportunity for art deco lovers.
2. David Murray John Building – Not exactly a hidden gem, the 83 metres high David Murray John building dominates the Swindon skyline, and whether you like it or loathe it, you can’t deny that the DMJ is another iconic landmark that ‘makes’ Swindon easily identifiable and is part of the DNA of Swindon’s town centre for business and the wider community. Costing just £2 million pounds back in 1975, I wonder how much a similar project would cost today?
3. Renault Building – I’ve always been inspired by the innovative architecture in Swindon and the Renault Building is a case in point. Designed by Sir Norman Foster, the building’s bright yellow exterior and industrial steel cables and columns are a real landmark. Renault’s original distribution centre was testament to the thriving Automotive sector in Swindon which also includes Honda (a Jazzbones Client) and BMW (formally Pressed Steel, the factory where my ‘Italian’ Grandad worked when he came to Swindon in 1954) to name just a few. Who could forget the fact that the Renault Building starred in a couple of James Bond movies, including being used as a back-drop for the 1984 film A View to a Kill? Not a bad Bond film, but not as good as my favourite ‘Live and Let Die’!
4. Lydiard Park House and Grounds – We are blessed with a spectacular range of green spaces in Swindon and rolling countryside only moments away. Lydiard Park has proven a great backdrop for family walks and exploration and as a teenager I even took park in Kung Fu classes in the wide open spaces with the house as a backdrop.
5. The Locarno – Built in 1852 the Locarno or Corn Exchange is the view we enjoy from our studio here in Old Town, often seen whilst burning the midnight oil to deliver client projects. The Jazzbones Creative team are really looking forward to this site being developed and the opportunities the £35 million regeneration will bring into the area for entertainment, leisure and employment.
6. The Oasis Leisure Centre – Famously inspired the band Oasis to pick their name. The iconic dome structure was very innovative at the time of its design and was a shining example of the forward-thinking nature of Swindon in the ‘70s, then regarded as the ‘fastest growing town’ in Europe. I remember being invited with Pinehurst Junior School to go and try out the Domebusters, this must have been around 1984/5?
We hope you like the first designs in our Swindon vintage travel range and that they inspire you to learn more about our fantastic town and its hidden gems – more posters coming soon!
Founder & Creative Director
Jazzbones Creative Ltd
To find out more about Jazzbones Creative Founder and Creative Director Nathan Sandhu and how we can help with your design and marketing requirements, please contact Nathan@jazzbones.co.uk or call 01793 847300