The London Underground was formed in 1885, but its history dates back to 1863 when the world’s first underground railway opened. Today, London Underground is a major business with three million passenger journeys made every day, serving 275 stations and over 408 km of railway.
Frank Pick, who was responsible for London Underground’s publicity beginning in 1908, commissioned the first graphic posters seen by the Underground Commuters to bring about coherent corporate identity and to convey information. Thus began an artistic legacy of many well-known graphic designers, illustrators and artists for its own publicity posters. In my estimation, we owe these creative people a great debt. Let me include a few of their names: Man Ray, Edward McKnight Kauffer, WIlliam Kermode and Fougasse.
You might want to check out The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden; custodian for one of the world’s finest poster archives including images over 100 years old. Many of the designs featured were inspired by the creation of the modern graphic poster which dates from the 1890’s and revolutionized the advertising industry. Replicas are available to purchase at the museum or online.
Today, in my powder room, I have a framed Underground poster that I found at the back of a second-hand shop. A new mat covers a damaged brown splotch; some black paint renewed the frame. The poster is of a waiter dressed in tails deferentially standing aside an an elegantly dressed couple in evening clothes leaves their table. The poster says, The Playgoer travels Underground (Last trains leave central area between midnight and 12:30 AM
To view more London Underground posters visit my Pinterest board or read an earlier blog on this same site – Stephenyhoughtlin.wordpress.com