Data + Design Project

UK Road Safety Posters from the WWII Blackout

Monday 02.04.2013 , Posted by
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UK Road Safety Poster WWII Blackout 55

During the German bombing raids of WWII city dwellers in Britain were subjected to long nights of complete darkness to protect them from being spotted from above. Called the Blackout, it was a dark foreign world for people accustomed to the brightly lit city, and one which posed new challenges many weren’t aware of. These road safety posters from the period (1939 – 1946) point out some of the hazards people needed to watch out for as they tried their best to “keep calm and carry on.”

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The series of posters, collected from the UK National Archives, feature a mostly dark and somber graphic design style. They point out the proper way to use torches (flashlights to American readers), allowing time for your eyes to adjust to darkness, better awareness of cars on dark nights, where to safely cross the streets, and how to be seen on your bicycle. All the posters seen here were originally created using combinations of gouache, pastel, and possibly airbrushed ink. According to Home Sweet Home Front these notices were very necessary:

“Total darkness was exciting for some because it meant their first glimpse of the night sky with no reflection of city lights. However for most trying to get around was confusing, frightening and dangerous. Road accidents were on the increase and drownings also rose dramatically where people fell off bridges and into rivers or into ponds.”

UK Road Safety Poster WWII Blackout 1

UK Road Safety Poster WWII Blackout 3

UK Road Safety Poster WWII Blackout 4

UK Road Safety Poster WWII Blackout 6

UK Road Safety Poster WWII Blackout 7

UK Road Safety Poster WWII Blackout 8

UK Road Safety Poster WWII Blackout 9

UK Road Safety Poster WWII Blackout 10

Via vintag.es

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Benjamin Starr

Written by Benjamin Starr



Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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