1938 by M. Barnard
London Transport Museum
There is perhaps nothing so synonymous of the style and feel of a point in time in our beloved London than the tube poster. With each age came the evocative ad – whether it was to depict the gentrification that would lure the Victorians, the collective determination of the homefront during wartime or the roaring style of the ’20s – London has always travelled underground. Various artists, many anonymous, were enlisted to design such posters, with focus often as much on the ‘art’ as the message. The icy blue of this poster immediately casts us into the chill of winter, broken only by the block colour of illustrative design. In jolly red and green – it is the festive season – the skier throws up their poles in delight, perched on the brink of the Winter Cavalcade, the letters of which curve harmoniously towards the figure, reflected with the juxtaposing arch of Earls Court above them – all components of this poster are harmoniously euphoric. The curved almost sculptural-like approach to the lines of the figure and its streamlined limbs are reminiscent of the bodies by Henry Moore; indeed Recumbent Figure (postcard 270) shares the same year. This celebration of the thirties’ interpretation of form is what makes this poster so evocative of time, yet the message is never lost. That iconic font and London Transport logo are instantly recognisable, though I’m not sure our modern London Transport would allow their signature blue and red to be tampered with for the sake of design.