How we made the March issue cover (and a new print)

For the cover of our London Underground special issue, we asked illustrator Robert Samuel Hanson to reference one of the tube network’s more esoteric posters and to envisage London in 150 years time. The full artwork is also set to be made into a print, available only with UK-based subscriptions to CR

Artwork for the front cover of the London Underground at 150 issue

For the cover of our London Underground special issue, we asked illustrator Robert Samuel Hanson to reference one of the tube network’s more esoteric posters and to envisage London in 150 years time. The full artwork is also set to be made into a print, available free with UK-based subscriptions to CR…

The March/London Underground at 150 issue cover

This is All in the Air by Montague B Black, 1926

CR approached Hanson with the idea of working from Montague B Black’s 1926 poster for the Underground; a vision of what London might look like in 2026. Black’s poster, This is All in the Air, suggested that Londoners of 1920s could enjoy the “solid comfort” of the Underground, while in 100 years’ time, well, just look at the crowded skies! Madness.

So as the tube is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year (and hence our special issue) we put it to Hanson that he imagine the city in another 150 years and, like Black, evoke the tube’s role within it. (Black’s poster is currently on show in the London Transport Museum’s Poster Art 150 exhibition.)

Hanson’s detailed cityscape includes references to the continuing – or relentless – success of the Rolling Stones, the rise of Pyongyang as a potential holiday destination, and to CR potentially carrying its own fleet of flying delivery buses, presumably as print still thrives. There are more river ferries on the Thames (itself cleaner and more welcoming to dolphins); while Boris’s Bike’s have also been redesigned for the 22nd century.

As in Black’s effort, Hanson’s vision puts buses in the air (see the fantastic North London Air Hub, above) while the Underground remains resolutely subterranean, albeit it with new fancy viewing compartments.

And we can also annouce that a print of Robert’s artwork is available, free, with all one, two and three-year subscriptions to CR (only in the UK). Printed A3 on 230gsm ultra smooth fine art paper by Print-Process, the print is available now – and readers can find out more about subscriptions here. Here’s what the print will look like:

Artwork for the back cover of the London Underground at 150 issue (and a close up of the left-hand side of the print)

CR in print
The March issue of CR magazine celebrates 150 years of the London Underground. In it we introduce a new book by Mark Ovenden, which is the first study of all aspects of the tube’s design evolution; we ask Harry Beck authority, Ken Garland, what he makes of a new tube map concept by Mark Noad; we investigate the enduring appeal of Edward Johnston’s eponymous typeface; Michael Evamy reports on the design story of world-famous roundel; we look at the London Transport Museum’s new exhibition of 150 key posters from its archive; we explore the rich history of platform art, and also the Underground’s communications and advertising, past and present. Plus, we talk to London Transport Museum’s head of trading about TfL’s approach to brand licensing and merchandising. In Crit, Rick Poynor reviews Branding Terror, a book about terrorist logos, while Paul Belford looks at how a 1980 ad managed to do away with everything bar a product demo. Finally, Daniel Benneworth-Grey reflects on the merits on working home alone. Buy your copy here.

Please note, CR now has a limited presence on the newsstand at WH Smith high street stores (although it can still be found in WH Smith travel branches at train stations and airports). If you cannot find a copy of CR in your town, your WH Smith store or a local independent newsagent can order it for you. You can search for your nearest stockist here. Alternatively, call us on 020 7970 4878, or buy a copy direct from us. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 970 4878 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.

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