Showing as part of this year’s London Design Festival is 26 Posters, a project by 26, the not-for-profit organisation for people who “champion the cause of better writing in business and everyday life”, in association with outdoor advertising company JCDecaux. The project sees writers from 26 teamed with designers to produce pieces of artwork that will be displayed on 48-sheet billboard sites in London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester. In addition, there will be 100 sites on the sides of telephone boxes that will exhibit developments of the posters.
“It was designed to show how inspired words can reach out and make people stop, think and question,” says Margaret Oscar, co-founder and director of 26, who orchestrated the project. “JCDecaux was keen to demonstrate the enormous creative potential of their medium, the emphasis being on the way it can interact with its audience and surroundings. As organisations, we’re both supporters of the written word in advertising and share a passion for considered language as a tool, so that made the partnership between us a natural one. And our members got very excited at the prospect of a free creative reign.”
Designers involved in the project include Jonathan Barnbrook, Harry Pearce, Andy Bird and Michael Wolff. Barnbrook worked with Jim Davies to create the This Smoking Gun for a poster site in Birmingham’s Gun Quarter, shown above. “The tension between words and image deliberately creates contradictions and questions,” Davies says of their poster. “It hints at the heritage and craftsmanship of gun-making, and on one level can be read as a poster advertising guns or the Gun Quarter. But it also recognises that guns are made to kill, and that there is a real gun problem in modern-day Birmingham.”
The London Design Festival begins tomorrow and runs until September 25. More info is at www.londondesignfestival.com.