The London Underground has commissioned some fantastic poster designs over the years and right now you can view the vast archive of posters from Victorian Times to the present day. Taking place at the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, the ‘Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs’ marks the London underground’s 150th anniversary – making it the world’s oldest subway transport system.
The exhibition will show a poster for each of the 150 years of the Underground’s existence. Visitors can buy prints of the original artwork in various sizes.
The first graphic underground posters were commissioned in 1908. Along the years there have been some startling submissions such as Man Ray’s surrealist poster in 1938. The American modernist’s submission featured the underground logo at the top of the picture and what appears to be planet Saturn at the bottom of the page alongside the title, “Keeps London Going”.
The posters of the motor shows at Olympia are particularly striking and because most of the cars depicted are now defunct and can only be seen in old films and collections, these posters really give off an old and retro vibe.
From 1951 – 1953 Hackney artist William Roberts designed posters for London Transport. One of Robert’s most innovative designs was ‘London Fairs’ which he submitted in 1951.
This colourful depiction of fairs in the capital looks like an illustration you would find in the Lord of the Rings; such is its delightful intricacy.
The rights and wrongs of how to behave on the tube were humorously represented by the British cartoonist Fougasse in 1944. The poster satirically shows an ‘L’ plated man walking up the wrong side of the escalator alongside a ‘please have your ticket ready’ sign.
Due to the popularity of the exhibition Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs has been extended until 5 January 2014. Tickets are priced from £15.00 and can be picked up on the London Transport Museum website.