Well, maybe not like the Invasion of Normandy but vintage safety posters were taken very seriously in the UK from 1930 into the 1970s. These were supported by British charity organization RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention Of Accidents). The posters are on public display now from the RoSPA and prints are available to the public. This showing was actually made possible from a discovery of nearly 700 posters from cleaning out an old warehouse. (see video below)
Birth of The RoSPA
The organization started some 97 years ago with its first safety campaign, getting pedestrians to walk facing traffic. The program was an overwhelming success saving a huge percentage of pedestrian lives. So, successful that between 1924 and 1942 there were millions of safety codes written including “The Highway Code”, “Analysis of Causes of Accidents” and the “Kerb Drill” (this was a kerb drill designed for children)
Keep The English Safe!
The vintage safety posters did not come along until the 1930s. The campaigns continued on with 1945s “Safety Standards for Fireguards” (fire safety), “The Cycling Proficiency Scheme” (for bicyclists) in 1947 and “The Tufty Club” 1961 (geared towards children with a cartoon squirrel family giving safety tips).
Every year or couple of years it seems a new safety campaign would be created for the times. In the 1950s there was Industrial and factory safety, 1960s the drink-drive campaign, 1980s wheel chair proficiency program (for the disabled). Many, many successful safety campaigns were created and the RoSPA is still alive and running today!
The U.S.A. and Posters for The People
Great minds think alike. That would be The UK and The USA. I wrote an article earlier this year America Shows Guts With Vintage Community Posters on the WPA (Works Projects Administration). It was started in 1935 as part of the Roosevelt “New Deal” program. This American program promoted vintage safety posters but also community driven messages to enhance peoples lives and promote hope and prosperity. The program was designed to put people back to work and get positive slogans and messages out. The WPA posters were more of the “woodblock” printing and art deco style. It was a huge advancement in American poster design and printing at the time. But, when examined today, they are aesthetically pleasing collectable little works of art.
We Love Vintage Posters
Our Magical History Tour @ Famous Rock Posters is growing in scope. We began our journey concerning ourselves with the aesthetics, collectibility, and investment quality of vintage rock posters from the 60’s. But, when you research the origins of art and posters it leads you to some incredibly interesting connections and stories. Pieces of the puzzle that would eventually bloom into little masterpieces we called the “psychedelic rock posters”.
The history of vintage posters and counter culture evolvement is amazing. Vintage safety posters, propaganda posters, public service posters and even travel posters (1930’s-40’s) were influential and hugely successful campaigns around the world. An effective art form getting a message to the people (for better or worse).