If the thought of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum conjures up the image of a stuffy repository of antiquities, then you’ll be surprised by the photographic posters going up on London Underground stations. Created by Johnson Banks to promote the museum’s permanent collection, their design and content say as much about the present than the past.
The aim is to fill a gap between major ‘special’ exhibitions at the museum during the tourist-rich summer months and to attract younger visitors.
The five posters each show an object from the V&A collection, ranging from a 17th century portrait to a Ron Arad chair.
The images have been picked from the V&A’s photographic archive – except for the bra which was shot by the museum’s photographic department – and reproduced in four-colour black and white. Each supports a one-word slogan incorporating the V&A logo, originally designed by Alan Fletcher. Johnson Banks founder Michael Johnson and designer Luke Gifford came up with the words eleV&Ating, deV&Astating, innoV&Ating, inV&Aluable and aV&Ant-garde.
The photos have been manipulated and retouched to give a consistent quality, says Johnson. The V&A logo appears in gold for emphasis. ‘It’s a way of taking disparate imagery and making it more powerful,’ says Johnson on reproducing the stock shots in four-colour black and white.
The typeface for the posters is Didot, described by Johnson as ‘an old-fashioned typeface similar to that the V&A logo was derived from’. He reckons Fletcher would approve.
Designer: Johnson Banks
Client: Victoria and Albert Museum