Scarfolk is a fictional northern English town created by writer and designer Richard Littler, who is sometimes identified as the town mayor. First published as a blog of fake historical documents, parodying British public information posters of the 1970s, a collected book was published in 2014.
Littler has said “I was always scared as a kid, always frightened of what I was faced with. … You’d walk into WHSmith… and see horror books with people’s faces melting. Kids’ TV included things like Children of the Stones, a very odd series you just wouldn’t get today. I remember a public information film made by some train organisation in which a children’s sports day was held on train tracks and, one by one, they were killed. It was insane. … I’m just taking it to the next logical step.
Scarfolk, which is forever locked in the 1970s, is a satire not only on that decade but also on contemporary events. It touches on themes of totalitarianism, suburban life, occultism and religion, school and childhood, as well as social attitudes such as racism and sexism.
Scarfolk was initially presented as a fake blog which purportedly releases artefacts from the town council’s archive. Artefacts include public information literature, out-of-print books, record and cassette sleeves, advertisements, television programme screenshots, household products, and audio and video, many of which suggest brands and imagery recognisable from the period. Additionally, artefacts are usually accompanied by short fictional vignettes which are also presented as factual and introduce residents of Scarfolk. The public information literature often ends with the strapline: “For more information please reread.”
The aesthetic is utilitarian, inspired by public sector materials in the United Kingdom such as Protect and Survive.