Saturday, June 08, 2019

London Underground Maps & Posters

The London Transport Museum now has a section on Google Arts and Culture which allows you to explore 22 historical London Underground maps and 150 vintage London Underground posters.

Among the maps in the collection is an early Harry Beck designed Map of the Underground (1933). Harry Beck was inspired by an electrical circuit diagram for his map of the London Underground. His transit map uses straight lines and more or less equal spaced stations rather than follow a strict geographical plan. Many of Beck's original design principles are still used in the modern London Underground map and in many transit system maps used around the world.

Compare Beck's map with this more geographically accurate Pocket Underground map of the Underground from 1908. I was heavily inspired by the 1908 Pocket Underground map when creating my animated map of The First 40 Years of the London Underground.

Among the 150 map posters in the collection is MacDonald Gill's By Paying Us Your Pennies (1908) map. Gill was a graphic designer, cartographer, artist and architect. His Paying Us Your Pennies map is more commonly known as the 'Wonderground Map'. Gill's hand-drawn fantasy style map of London proved so popular with the London public that it is often credited with saving the London Underground (it had been struggling before the poster's release).

The London Underground Poster collection also includes a poster designed by the famous American artist Map Ray. His Keeps London Going (1938) poster plays on the visual similarity of the London Underground roundel logo to the planet Saturn. The London Underground Museum has a brief account of how Man Ray used a photogram to create his poster.

The London Undeground poster collection includes four posters designed by Fougasse (Cyril Kenneth Bird). Fougasse was a cartoonist and editor of Punch magazine. As well as designing posters for London Underground Fougasse created many propaganda posters during World War II.

Fougasse's posters for London Underground concentrate on the etiquette of traveling by tube, such as having your ticket ready when approaching the barrier, passing down inside the train and standing on the right when riding the escalators. The poster above is Fougasse's Please Stand on the Right (1944).

These are just a few of my favorites posters in the new London Underground Collection on Google Arts and Culture. There are 146 other amazing posters in the collection. I'm sure you will have your own favorites.

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