CR Blog

Painting by Numbers

Advertising, Art, Graphic Design, Illustration

Posted by Creative Review, 12 December 2011, 16:59    Permalink    Comments (8)

Data Visualisation may be a hot topic right now but a new poster show at London's Transport Museum reminds us that getting complex information over in attractive ways is not a new challenge for the art director or designer

Figures for 1923, by Charles Shepard, 1924

Painting by numbers - making sense of statistics will feature 20 London Underground posters, many dating back to the 1930s or earlier. The posters were designed not only to promote the benefits of travelling by London Transport but also in order to wow the travelling public with details of the remarkable service they were (hopefully) enjoying every day.

Here, Speed, by Alfred Leete from 1915 reminds passengers of the dizzying speeds possible on the Tube, compared to alternatives of the time.


And What It Takes to Move the Passengers - Problems of the Underground, by Irene Fawkes, reminds passengers of the resources needed to make their journey.

No doubt passengers in 1938 were just as upset at fare increases as they are today – What happens to every £1 of your fares, by Zero (Hans Schleger), seeks to justify those prices.

And as traffic congestion starts to become a problem in London in 1965, These vehicles are carrying 69 people, by Heinz Zinram (photographer), reminds people how much more efficient buses are

While this 1912 poster by an unknown artist, The temperature of the Underground, suggests that the tube can rise temperatures in more ways than one.

Painting by numbers - making sense of statistics is at London Transport Museum from January 6 to March18, 2012



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Brilliant info & graphics and no sex to sell the idea of london transport.
Very refreshing in an over sexualised world we live in.
2011-12-13 12:47:52

It's so hard for me to look at vintage Underground posters with a critical eye as every time I see them I just fall for their charm.
2011-12-13 13:04:32


An examples of sex selling London Transport? I'm intrigued...
2011-12-13 14:26:32

More importantly, where can I get these!? Especially the 'SPEED' one ... thanks for sharing these pieces of graphic art(s) history.
2011-12-14 05:40:56

So nice to see the roots of infographics, I much prefer these. I feel they have more personality and a nicer feel to them.
2011-12-14 17:12:31

@ Robert
You can buy them off London Transport Museum's website:
2011-12-21 16:20:02

Very funny to see infographics are not a new thing.
A lot of them talk about "underground", i think it was a big subject of conversion !
Francois Bontemps
2011-12-29 08:15:59

Nice work! Inspiring to see those old infographics...
2011-12-29 13:24:20

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