Vintage design for modern times

Tom Eckersley is all over the web at the moment.  Yesterday he was here on Grain Edit (and hence tweeted and reposted hither and thither).  And over the last few months, he’s also been herehereherehere and even all the way over here in Italy.  (There are loads more, I just lost the will to look at them all).  The two images below are currently spreading across the web like a virus.

Tom Eckersley Keep Britain Tidy vintage poster

This is in part – a big part – because the Eckersley Archive is both so big and so available.  But it must also be because there is something about Eckersley which is particularly appealing to today’s designers and students.

What’s noticeable about the posters which have, mostly, been chosen from the archive is that they tend to be Eckersley’s much more simple and graphic work, from the 60s and later.

Tom Eckersley Pakistan Airways vintage poster

What’s missing from the tides of Eckersley’s work ebbing and flowing across the web are the earlier, more whimsical posters.  Posters like this one:

tom eckersley seal guinness vintage poster

Or even this:

tom eckersley mablethorpe vintage poster

(This just went for £110 at Talisman Railway auctions, which is a bit of a bargain, even if it is a bit battered).

There is one exception to this, which are his Please Pack Parcels Very Carefully series, which the BPMA have been using quite a bit recently.  If I am truthful, I’m a bit cross about this.

Tom eckersley china dog vintage poster

It’s not that it’s not a lovely poster, it is, and of course everyone should get a chance to see it, if only to prove that Tom Eckersley did a bit more than just sparse modernism.  But it’s mine.  This was the first poster I ever bought (more on that some other time) and it’s sitting watching me as I write right now.  So hands off everyone.  Go and find another poster to tweet about please.

Here’s one to start with, another lovely piece of sparse modernism.

Mr Crownfolio and I are off to turn this into a twitter button.  We may be gone some time.  In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter here.

  • No, tongue firmly in cheek there. There were quite a few of these, although I don’t know how many survive now – I’m sure there are more than just ours and the BPMA’s though.

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