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What is the greatest London Underground poster ever?

— January 2014

Associated media

Horace Taylor,  Brightest London is Best Reached by Underground

The Siemens Poster Vote winner is announced

The results are in and the public have decided that the best London Underground poster of all time is Brightest London is best reached by Underground, which was designed by Horace Taylor in 1924.

Over 42,000 people voted in the Siemens Poster Vote, making a difficult choice from the 150 posters that featured in London Transport Museum’s 2013 exhibition ‘Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs’.

Brightest London drew 1752 of the votes with London Zoo by Abram Games   (1976) and Underground – the way for all  by Alfred France (1911) gaining 1614 and 1342 votes respectively.

The winning poster was created when cinemas still showed black and white films; vibrant posters such as Taylor’s splashed colour into 1920s London. The Underground is presented as bright, popular and extremely fashionable with a very smart crowd heading out for a night on the town.Still vibrant almost 90 years after it first appeared to brighten Underground stations, it is easy to imagine how effective it must have been at the time. The artist’s granddaughter once explained that Taylor often liked to paint himself into his posters. In this one he is the gentleman with the top hat and the beard on the middle escalator.

The Poster Art 150 exhibition opened on 15 February 2013 and was due to close in October but was extended until 5 January 2014 owing to popular demand. It formed part of the 150th anniversary of the London Underground celebrations and featured posters by many famous artists including Edward McKnight Kauffer,  Man Ray   and Paul Nash, and designs from each decade over the last 100 years. Information about some of the posters featured in the exhibition can be found on London Transport Museum’s blog

The posters were selected from the Museum’s archive of over 3,300 Underground posters by a panel of experts; the 150 that appeared in the exhibition show the range and depth of the Museum’s collection.

Director of London Transport Museum, Sam Mullins, said The number of votes for Brightest Londonis impressive, given the public had a large selection from which to choose.  We’re delighted that so many people participated in the Siemens Poster Vote which reinforces the view that our poster collection is one of the most important collections of graphic art in the world.

Siemens Rail Systems UK Managing Director, Steve Scrimshaw, said:

We were proud to be part of the 150th anniversary of London Underground, and have been delighted by the success of the Siemens Poster Vote, it has really captured people’s imaginations.  It is fascinating to see how design has changed over the last 150 years – we have many engineers who are passionate about design, maybe ‘Poster Art 150’ has given them some new ideas!

See reviews of books on poster art in past issues:

August McKnight Kaufer, 'The poster king' (August 2011)

'Soviet war posters rediscovered' (December 2012)

'Classic posters of the last century' (April 2013)

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