Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Case Y, Shelf 74, Box D

Help Save Our World

Poster
1981 (designed and printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is the work of celebrated English poster artist Tom Eckersley (1914 - 1997). It was designed and printed in 1981 for the World Wildlife Fund to raise environmental awareness and draw attention to the charity. Eckersley's representation of a noose around the Earth is dramatic in its simplicity. The main title, 'Help save our world', is deliberately linked closely to the image to emphasize the key words, 'our world'.

All of Eckersley's posters demonstrate his ability to convey a simple, direct message through economical and effective design. His style is instantly recognisable - unlike other contemporary poster designers who introduced photography, airbrush, perspective and depth to their works, Eckersley favoured bold, flat areas of colour, reducing figures and objects to flat geometrical shapes. As he explains in his book 'Poster Design' (1954):

"The good designer can achieve far more with two colours than the poor one with twelve, since it is not the number of colours you use but the way in which you employ them which governs the result."

He was inspired by the striking, often abstract images by poster designers A.M. Cassandre and Edward Mcknight Kauffer.

After graduating from Salford Art School, Eckersley moved to London in 1934 to become a freelance poster designer. He collaborated with Eric Lombers on a number of commissions for London Transport, Shell and the BBC. During the Second World War, Eckersley worked independently for public service agencies including the Ministry of Information and the General Post Office.

In 1957 he became Head of the Design Department at the London College of Printing for twenty years. He then took early retirement in order to pursue his own work full-time. As well as producing posters for the World Wildlife Fund, Eckersley also designed works for the National Business Calendar, the Imperial War Museum, a set of film star posters and posters advertising his own exhibitions. One of his most popular designs, a Concorde platform panel at Heathrow underground station, is also in the V&A collection.

Throughout his career, Eckersley focused his attention on posters and is considered the last full-time English poster designer. This poster was bequeathed by Phillip Granville.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Colour offset lithograph.
Brief Description
Eckersley, Tom; 'Help Save our World', promoting the protection of the environment by the World Wildlife fund, 1981, British
Physical Description
A black noose around the Globe.
Dimensions
  • Height: 76cm
  • Width: 51cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Help save our world (Main text in black. Positioned diagonally from top left.)
  • Growing numbers of people are joining together in an effort to do / what they can to protect their own immediate environment / and to raise funds for conservation. This growing tide must now be turned / into an irresistible flood so powerful and so widespread that governments / everywhere will be compelled to recognise it. David Attenborough (Text in black, across bottom centre.)
  • WWF WORLD WILDLIFE FUND / Panda House. 11/13 Ockford Road, Godalming, Surrey. (Text in black, bottom centre.)
  • ECKERSLEY, 81 (Artist's signature, top right.)
Credit line
Accepted by H M Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2007
Subjects depicted
Summary
This is the work of celebrated English poster artist Tom Eckersley (1914 - 1997). It was designed and printed in 1981 for the World Wildlife Fund to raise environmental awareness and draw attention to the charity. Eckersley's representation of a noose around the Earth is dramatic in its simplicity. The main title, 'Help save our world', is deliberately linked closely to the image to emphasize the key words, 'our world'.



All of Eckersley's posters demonstrate his ability to convey a simple, direct message through economical and effective design. His style is instantly recognisable - unlike other contemporary poster designers who introduced photography, airbrush, perspective and depth to their works, Eckersley favoured bold, flat areas of colour, reducing figures and objects to flat geometrical shapes. As he explains in his book 'Poster Design' (1954):



"The good designer can achieve far more with two colours than the poor one with twelve, since it is not the number of colours you use but the way in which you employ them which governs the result."



He was inspired by the striking, often abstract images by poster designers A.M. Cassandre and Edward Mcknight Kauffer.



After graduating from Salford Art School, Eckersley moved to London in 1934 to become a freelance poster designer. He collaborated with Eric Lombers on a number of commissions for London Transport, Shell and the BBC. During the Second World War, Eckersley worked independently for public service agencies including the Ministry of Information and the General Post Office.



In 1957 he became Head of the Design Department at the London College of Printing for twenty years. He then took early retirement in order to pursue his own work full-time. As well as producing posters for the World Wildlife Fund, Eckersley also designed works for the National Business Calendar, the Imperial War Museum, a set of film star posters and posters advertising his own exhibitions. One of his most popular designs, a Concorde platform panel at Heathrow underground station, is also in the V&A collection.



Throughout his career, Eckersley focused his attention on posters and is considered the last full-time English poster designer. This poster was bequeathed by Phillip Granville.
Collection
Accession Number
E.2715-2007

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record createdJune 8, 2009
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