26 Posters

As part of the 2007 London Design Festival, ’26 Posters’ set a challenge to twenty-six pairs of writers and designers. To create a six-word poster that somehow comments on or reflects its immediate location. That’s it. Simple, but devilishly tricky.

Thanks to a partnership with outdoor advertising specialists JC Decaux, we had access to prime 48-sheet poster sites in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. As well as over 100 Street Talk sites – those colourful telephone boxes with the ads on them. And we were lucky to have some fabulously talented designers on board – Michael Wolff, Jonathan Barnbrook, Harry Pearce and Andy Bird among them.

Because there was no commercial imperative here, the posters suddenly take on a very different role from usual. Their only purpose is to hold the attention, to amuse, provoke, enlighten, or plant the germ of a thought in the minds of the passing public. The results, as you’d expect, were divertingly diverse. They were in turns funny, quirky, political, controversial, whimsical and polemical. No two were anything alike, in spirit or in style, reflecting the individuality of their locations.

Craig Wills, Head of Open Strategy at JC Decaux, said, “In working with 26 we are eager supporters of the written word in advertising and are keen to ensure that words are a tool selected and used well from the potential armoury of communications weapons.”

The project was co-ordinated by the tireless Margaret Oscar. Thanks to Tequilla for hosting the launch party and Swarowski Crystals for printing a set of postcards.

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