26 April 2012

POSTER DESIGN FROM THE 1970s


I don’t normally show my own work here, but, when I was thinking of ways I might draw on ceramics, I dug out these old posters. I did them when I was working in the PR department of North East London Polytechnic, the predecessor of the University of East London.

We had limited resources. Everything was printed in black on a little offset litho press, but I loved working there because I had freedom to do what I wanted and my boss was uninterested in what I did - as long as nothing went wrong.


When I did the poster for Eric Robinson's Talk on "Higher Education in the USSR" (below), which I thought was one of my best, the shit hit the fan. Eric was deputy director of North East London Polytechnic, and in fact the driving force behind the creation of the polytechnics. He didn't like my poster. He though the drawing was facetious and the text illegible.


The morning after the posters went up, Eric stormed into my boss's office, one of my posters crumpled in his hand. After he left I was called in for a dressing down and told to replace the poster by lunchtime. "But you know our procedure," I said, "we must have a week's notice." My boss insisted. I went to the print room and told the printer that we had to run off a new poster by lunchtime. There was low intensity war between the designers and the printers, but my demand came with such high authority that he actually stopped the press and we had another, much worse, poster ready in three hours. In the afternoon, my beaming boss called me in again. "Eric likes it," he said. "Well done!"

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