If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Flickr you'll have seen that I've been busy recently doing some work with posters for the #Savelibraries campaign. I love looking through old posters, advertisements, bill stickers and so on, and I got to thinking, I wonder what the Savelibraries campaign would look like through the medium of some of those old posters? I started with the obvious idea of 'Your library needs you', but as I started to go through the posters in detail I could see that - without a great deal of work, we could have some fun here. Posters of this age are out of copyright - and I've certainly seen plenty of companies reproducing them for resale, so I thought why not.
I started by looking at the message of these First and Second World War posters. The propaganda messages are actually really interesting; the WW1 posters do however tend towards individual responsibility and shaming people - as in the 'Daddy, what did you do in the Great War?' sentiment. WW2 posters on the other hand tend to emphasis the strength and power of doing things together - the Battle of Britain poster with all the pilots together is a good example of that. However, in both cases what was similar was a very basic statement with a call for action of some sort. Indignation and direct demands were commonplace, and an emphasis on the differing roles of men and women were also common to see.
Having got a clear idea of the type of message that worked with the posters I obviously wanted them to look as realistic as possible. A major problem here is that the fonts used are very specific, and you just don't find them in modern default collections. I did some hunting around and did find some but each font was costing upwards of £25 each, so that just wasn't happening. Sometimes I left the font as it was and used a similar default font, or I removed the lot and started over.
I tended to use Paintshop Pro and Photoshop for the actual work. What I did depended on the image. With some posters I just removed the text and replaced it with my own. I'd use the ink dropper to make sure that the shade was the same. Sometimes I had to do a lot more work, with layers and scripts to get the right feel but overall I'm happy with the results that I got.
I've included a few examples of the posters below, but you can see the entire collection of (currently 19) World War One and World War Two Save Libraries posters over in my Flickr account. Several people have asked me if they can use them. I'm making no claim over them other than having a good idea and putting it into practice. If you want to use them, feel free to print off and put on placards, or laminate, use in your own blogs, put them on as avatars - whatever you like. It would be nice to have an attribution and link back to the set so that other people can find them though. All that I ask is that you don't use them commercially. I have a Zazzle account and I've put a lot of them into that. I make about 10% on anything that's sold, so it's not going to make my fortune but in any instance, anything that I DO make I'll pass onto charity - I'm doing this for my own personal enjoyment (it's been a lot of fun) and to help the campaign and highlight the danger for libraries. If you'd like a particular image as a badge or keyring or what have you, please do let me know and I can create it for you very quickly.
Anyway - a few example posters and a flash display of Zazzle products.
And a Zazzle panel.