They are vivid, colourful and strikingly creative, composed of bold images and tipped with sharp text. They meet their purpose beautifully – to engage London visitors in feeling passionate about what the capital has to offer. The London zoo, Natural History museum, Covent gardens, a steam boat tour… the list is an endless supply of fun opportunities. So what better way, than to sit gloriously bold and elegant in the depth of the underground, plastered across the walls of whisking stairs or welcoming you at the nearest entrance – bringing colour and geometric abstracts to the train tracks.
With thousands of users relying on the underground daily, these posters had to be sharp and attractive, luring people in to the beauties of London. Imagine the rush of the morning – men and women both hurrying in a fluster, with shiny shoes and prepared work faces rushing on and off trains that sliced through the underground. Imagine, the littered platforms of people, waiting anxiously and excitedly for their carriage to turn up and whisk them away on to their next journey. But all around them, sit posters, dazzling brightly, and can only be caught in snippets, in-between the nooks and crannies of gaps between waiting heads – and it brings stimulation. It allows the residents of London to visualise the alternative unique places that London has to offer –certainly a nice change from the London working life. Imagine the children in their large hats and square suitcases, tugging on their mothers dresses and pointing at the brightly coloured poster of painted exotic animals of the zoo.
It’s clear how important these posters were – they provided a free exhibition of remarkable artwork, advertising new places to be discovered.
The collection diverts back to the 1920’s – known as the “Golden age” of posters. They are stylish and in their time were regarded as leading patrons in the art world. The artists of the work engaged in emphasis and wildness, but always made sure that the subject remained clear. Exposing the unfamiliar to the public allowed them to taste adventure and pleasure.
During the 1920’s and 1930’s designing a poster for the London Underground became an honour among aspiring and influential artists. Since the population of such elegant designs rocketed, the competition of artist’s works being displayed on the underground was higher than any other single company or organisation.
Furthermore, you would have seen a few posters of advertisement from the more recent years in this collection. Dating from the 1950’s and 1980’s and it’s rather nice to sit back and see the transition in design and colour. Texts become fancier, thinner and wavy, and the illustrations become softer, more detailed and realistic. Nevertheless both designs are visually admiring, it’s rather a shame to have seen these disappear over the years.
I say, lets bring back vintage posters for London.
Let’s return advertisements and art from the 1920’s and create an historical feel to the London underground.