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Poster - Careless Talk Costs Lives
  • Careless Talk Costs Lives
    Fougasse, born 1887 - died 1965
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Careless Talk Costs Lives

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    1940 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fougasse, born 1887 - died 1965 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the American Friends of the V&A; Gift to the American Friends by Leslie, Judith and Gabri Schreyer and Alice Schreyer Batko

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case 1B, box LS3

Fougasse, whose real name was Kenneth Cyril Bird, believed that the viewer's own contribution to understanding the joke was the key to remembering and acting on the poster's message. He deliberately used bright colours and simple forms to attract attention, and then forced the viewer to engage with the image and enjoy the joke by coming close enough to see the detail and read the small lettering of the caption. His graphic wit used ordinary everyday situations to warn against the dangers of indiscretion in public places, particularly during unguarded intimate conversations.

Physical description

Cartoon illustration of two men, one dressed in yellow, the other in blue, leaning against a bar. In the background, the bottles on the bar's shelves all bear Hitler's caricatured likeness.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)


1940 (made)


Fougasse, born 1887 - died 1965 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

Be careful/ what you say/ + where you/ say it!
cursive writing printed in black on white

printed in black on white

Descriptive line

'Be careful what you say and where you say it!', Second World War cartoon poster warning against careless talk, designed by Fougasse, United Kingdom, 1940

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'The Power of the Poster' edited by Margaret Timmers. London: V&A publications. 1998. page 156.


Paper; Ink


Colour lithography

Subjects depicted

Espionage; Propaganda; Secrecy; Men; Bar


Prints; Propaganda; Posters


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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