Political, powerful and poignant (although not always all at the same time), Abram Games’ work earned him a place as one of the 20th Century’s most iconic and influential graphic designers. Notoriously, one of his posters was banned by Churchill in post-war Britain and, although he crafted advertising for the Times, Transport for London and Guinness, his most impactful work was created for noble causes. During the Second World War he designed hundreds of recruitment posters and images discouraging waste, with slogans like “Use Spades, Not Ships” and bold dynamic graphics.
Understandably the Jewish Museum’s exhibition, which celebrates what would have been Abram’s 100th birthday, features many of the gripping and harrowing images he made (often working for free) for the United Palestine Appeal, United Nations and other relief organisations in the wake of the war. As exemplary as his work were his ethics, as he refused to be involved with projects that he didn’t believe in.
Besides posters, Abram also created the logo for the 1951 Festival of Britain and emblems for heavyweights like the BBC and the Olympic Games. His style is perhaps best described in his own words, as “maximum meaning, minimum means” and has left an enduring legacy.
Designing the 20th Century: Life and Work of Abram Games is at the Jewish Museum until 4 January 2015. Find out more on our exhibitions listing site, This at There.