Different guidebook brands tend to be suited for different types of travelling and specialised in different ways. For example, I find Bradt guides to be great for off-the-beaten-track travel, Lonely Planet seem to have cornered the market in "classic" backpacking round hostels, Trailblazer seem to specialise in outdoorsy challenges like trekking, etc etc, then there's a whole host of glossy books high on photos and low on practical detail that are more like coffee-table books for people on organised tours.
I'm trying to find city guides that are good for modern culture, local insights and quirky surprises, and am getting a bit lost. In particular I'm trying to place the Wallpaper series. They look nice, and they're clearly marketed narrowly at... someone. But I can't quite place them.
So, what's the deal with Wallpaper guidebooks? Can anyone with relevant experience advise on how the content and focus of these books differs to the alternatives? When would you advise them and when would you advise against them?
I've tried reading reviews, but they're exceptionally unhelpful - haven't yet found a review longer than one line. I've also tried looking for blogs etc that compare, but only found one - http://www.vagabondish.com/essential-travel-guides/ - which pretty much just focuses on how they look:
Need to know every hot spot in a hurry? Don’t wanna look like a tourist? Grab yourself a Wallpaper travel guide. These tiny books have drawn-in the design conscious with their Pantone-like hues based on location.
Aside from aesthetics, they pack a surprising amount of information in such a tiny booklet. Plus, the packaging gives you an extra boost of confidence whether you’re [sic] main objective is safety or attractive hot natives.
So it sounds like they're not just dumbed-down directories of overpriced shopping and dining for posers, which is something I had initially feared. But what are they?
Edit: finally found some actually helpful reviews (although it is for an old edition): http://www.amazon.com/Wallpaper-City-Guide-London-Guides/dp/0714846872
Reading between the lines, it sounds like maybe they're guidebooks for people who don't think they need regular guidebooks, such as people on year placements or staying with friends, so they skimp on the standard stuff to add more offbeat surprises, curios and "did you notice" stuff like architecture. That's just the impression I get from reading between the lines of a couple of reviews though.