The London Underground: Tube Exits and Pretty Pictures
The poor London Underground comes in for a fair amount of regular stick, however, most of the time severely unjustified. The inability for us commuters to appreciate the world’s oldest underground railway is something of a misgiving, especially as there is a near to non-existent structure in other cities across the expanse of the UK. The much maligned system not only works, but it often work very well [with the exception of the odd tube strike of course], the dotting together of stations an intertwined link of futuristic angled platforms and red brick building work an architectural dream. Realising the potential of the London Underground brand, and the opportunity to catch the attention of a billion annual users, Art on the Underground has shown that it is possible to grab the interest of commuters in a clever and subtle kind of way. The underground is a huge forum for advertising, yet the intelligent angle of using art to speak to an inconceivably large audience is an extremely effective initiative, and one that has been proven to work effectively in the past.
The continuity of the initiative is commendable, and with a huge capacity for collaboration, the Art on the Underground campaign’s success lies in these qualities – alongside the physical element, which also broadened out to the sharp daylight of museums and exhibits, there is also a concerted online space.
With 2012 fast approaching perhaps we should begin cutting London’s metro system some slack, and with the influx of inventions such as Stewart’s Tube Exits, and the continuation of clever campaigns such as Art on the Underground, our journeys shall become both far more pleasant and far more manageable.
Image is of one of the 100 artists selected to reinterpret ‘the roundel’ [the sign in the centre of the brand]. This particular interpretation was done by James Ireland.
– Contributed by Tarik Fontenelle