Name that character

Opening later this week at the London Transport Museum, Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs picks 150 of the finest posters designed for the tube. So, for a little pre-show fun, we want to know how many advertising characters can you spot in the poster above?

Opening later this week at the London Transport Museum, Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs picks 150 of the finest posters designed for the tube. So, for a little pre-show fun, we want to know how many advertising characters can you spot in the poster above?

Poster Art 150 opens on Friday February 15 (full preview to come). Eight experts selected posters from throughout the tube’s 150 years for the show, including this one, by Frederick Charles Herrick, from 1920. During the first world war, there had been restrictions on advertising on the tube network. In 1920, the Undergound relaunched its advertising campaign while events such as this White City exhibition were aimed at encouraging advertisers back into print.

In the poster, a host of popular advertising characters of the day assemble on a tube platform ready to travel to the show – but how many do you recognise?

There’s the Johnnie Walker Striding Man, for starters, and Bibendum, of course, but what about the others?

Let us know in the comments below – we’re really struggling with the blocky, yellow guy (lady?) in the background, right…


Image courtesy London Transport Museum Collection.

Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs is at the London TRansport Museum, Covent Garden, London WC2 from February 15 until October. Visitors can vote for their favourite poster in the Siemens Poster Vote, details here


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  • Sam Cornwell

    Well straight away I see HMV, Fisherman’s friend and Michelin, but I don’t expect to find many more.

  • Lauren

    Ovaltine kids!

  • Mark

    The Guinness is good for you face is on the first image – just behind the shoe shiner.

  • I think the kids with the scarves are the Cocoa Nibs characters from Rowntree’s:

    The lass in the stripy dress is the Kodak Girl:

    The bearded gent with the monocle, is he the Youngers Beer man?

  • Johnny Walker in the Red jacket

  • Jehlicka

    Johnnie Walker is also present

  • Gregory

    Player’s cigarette sailorman, that cardinal looks very familiar I am sure I have seen something with him on it recently.

  • Wonder if the dog behind Bibendum is HMV’s ‘Nipper’

    The little character with the tall top hat looks like Vim

    Mr Punch – Punch Magazine maybe?

  • Kay Rowley

    think the chap in the sou’wester is john west and the distant figure in a top hat may be the sharps toffee ‘toff’ – it’s a bit hard to see.

  • Sepka

    The fellow to the left of Johnnie Walker I believe to be Mister Punch, from the humour magazine.

  • The lady in yellow is very strange indeed… looks like a videogame character, which didnt exist at that time :)

  • component

    Cardinal – ?Cardinal Polish

  • component

    Apologies for the multiple entries above -newby.

    Just found :

    “Subjects depicted

    Advertisements; Posters; Underground railway stations; Underground railways; Wood Lane Underground Station; Michelin Man; Cardinal Furniture Polish; Rowntrees Cocoa Nibs; Kodak Girl; Pears Soap Tramp; Skipper Sardines; Johnny Walker Whisky”

  • Pretty difficult! The only one I guessed myself was Bibendum a.k.a the Michelin Man. As someone else mentioned, the small dog could be from HMV.

  • Lindsey

    Some great guesses from your readers but this is very similar to this blog post published earlier in the day –

    Did you forget to credit your source?

  • There was some really beautiful artwork in ads back in those days, we’ve simplified elements as much as possible to make them more immediately obvious to people but looking at some of these characters it’s fairly plain who and what they are and what they’re representing. I still can’t work out what the yellow character in the back right corner is though!

  • Simon J Trainer

    the chap with the cigar looks like an early version of the Michelin man! it’s a long way from today’s slick adverts, but it makes you really look at the care and attention to detail, so my feeling is the old school advert-sing worked much better, much more enjoyable anyway!

  • Dan Ray

    the dog from HMV and the michelin man, after that I’m lost….

  • Jonny Walker is there for sure and the dog in the picture with the black patches looks very similar to the advert on the wall in the picture but cant make out the name?