We bought this quite a while ago, but only recently got round to photographing it.
It’s by Stan Krol, and thanks to the BMPA and their lovely online catalogue I can tell you that it’s from March 1966. A date that slightly surprised me as I would have had it down as late 1950s had I been asked. And when I look at the catalogue closely, this poster is sandwiched in between lots of other 1950s posters so I am wondering whether this might be a typo. I will ask them.
What I can’t tell you and don’t know, however, is much about Stan Krol himself. I’ve been trying to research him for the last week or two and it’s been a useful lesson in two ways. One is that sometimes it really isn’t possible to find out much other than that someone once designed posters and was born in 1910, the one biographical fact I do have about him. The other is that not all designers from the past are in fact undiscovered geniuses. Which isn’t to say that Stan Krol is a bad designer at all, he did some great stuff, like this poster for the Post Office Savings Bank from 1960, when Krol was already turning 50.
In fact it’s the BPMA archive that can tell me the most about Krol’s career. He started working for them in the late 1940s, which is when these two usefully informative internal posters come from.
He carries on working for them throughout the 1950s.
He carried on throughout the 1960s as well.
He was even producing posters for them as late as 1971.
When you lay out all of his GPO stuff like that, it’s not a bad selection of work. But what’s strange is both how little he seems to have done for other people, and how that mostly wasn’t as good. This, for example, is one of just two posters he did for London Transport.
He also did a fairly standard blue skies BOAC poster at some point, which does make me think of peeling a banana.
Along with a United National poster in a similar style
But he was still capable of some surprises too. I like this ROSPA poster from 1971 more than most people would simply because it has a black cat on it.
But the two coach posters that I’ve seen of his – both from the 1960s are just plain great.
Now that I’ve laid Krol’s work end to end along the blog, I like it a lot more than I did when I began. He fitted his style to the times very well, a particularly impressive feat when you consider that he was producing his last posters when he was in his 60s. Yes, he may not be an undiscovered genius, but he was a very good working designer. And they need celebrating as well.