TfL outlaws posters that ‘encourage graffiti’

During a visit to Switzerland, I ended up in an extraordinary exhibition in Zurich, entitled ‘A glimpse of the works of the Shagal’.

Are any other creative departments having the same problems that we are experiencing with designs proposed for West End theatre posters on the London Underground?

We have encountered problems with artwork for Wicked the Musical outdoor sites, which I believe are aesthetically controlled by Transport for London.

TfL’s latest problem is that the edges of the poster have a slightly distressed torn edge to them, in a kind of treasure map effect.

TfL says the design will look badly posted when it appears in situ. This seems totally ridiculous.

It is not the first time this kind of censorship has happened. We have had problems with Spamalot, where a word on the poster artwork had been crossed out, in Monty Python style, and replaced with another word. This was not acceptable to TfL and the whole job had to be re-artworked and reprinted at great expense.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat had a similar issue, as the design gave the appearance that the logo had been tagged. TfL said it would encourage members of the public to graffiti London Underground. We were also told that ‘freestyle scripts’ were not acceptable on posters on the Underground.

I wonder if we will see the equally controversial London Olympics 2012 campaign on the Underground, with its graffiti-inspired look and freestyle type?

Bob King, Creative director, Dewynters, by e-mail

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