How Covid-19 prompted a return of the poster

Creatives around the world have been producing posters in response to the Covid-19 crisis. We take a look at some innovative examples from Leeds, New York and Amsterdam, and explore how posters became an important tool for sharing information and lifting people’s spirits

The coronavirus pandemic has inspired a wave of creative projects – from short films to poems and digital artworks – but in the past few weeks, it seems the poster has become the go-to format for creatives responding to the crisis. Designers and illustrators in cities from Leeds to London, New York and Amsterdam have all been creating posters to raise awareness of social distancing advice and pay tribute to key workers – resulting in some witty, imaginative and heartfelt designs.

In the UK, street art project In Good Company has been bringing some much-needed positivity to public spaces with colourful posters thanking NHS staff and other essential workers. The initiative started in Leeds and has since been rolled out to other cities. Over the past few weeks, In Good Company founder Laura Wellington has worked with designers including Morag Myerscough, Rebecca Strickson and Studio Build to create posters for billboards and outdoor ad sites. Posters are also available to purchase from In Good Company’s website and proceeds from sales will be split between charities chosen by participating artists.

Above and lead image (top): Morag Myerscough’s posters on display in Leeds. Photos: In Good Company

Wellington – a designer and curator – had the idea for the project during a virtual chat with Leeds creative team We are FYI. “In my day to day, I own and operate three physical buildings [Duke Studios, Sheaf St and Duke Makes] and We Are FYI predominately work in events, festivals and nightlife. Over a glass of wine, I talked about just trying to be positive and do positive things, and that we were all in the same boat,” she tells CR. “I remembered that Tom [Buxey, co-founder and director of We are FYI] had eight billboards on Hyde Park corner in Leeds, and it popped into my head to use them as part of my passion project In Good Company to create a big thank you to our key workers,” she adds.