100 years of aviation posters

British Airways have released a book  with over 200 images of aviation posters from its archives. The book was compiled by Paul Jarvis, who set up the BA Archives as a volunteer, he sadly passed away just as the book was published. It is a testament to the golden era of air travel....

See a selection of images below, all copyright of Amberly Publishing and British Airways.

To get a copy of the book on amazon, click here.

This poster is based on French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s 1891 poster Moulin Rouge: La Goulue. It advertises the London-Paris route, the very first route that BritishAirways predecessor, Aircraft Transport & Travel, operated in August 1919. Image: Saatchi and Saatchi
This poster is based on French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s 1891 poster Moulin Rouge: La Goulue. It advertises the London-Paris route, the very first route that BritishAirways predecessor, Aircraft Transport & Travel, operated in August 1919. Image: Saatchi and Saatchi
By the mid-1930s  Imperial Airways were producing some of the most cutting edge modernist posters. Using artists such as Ben Nicholson and Edward McKnight Kauffer, they put Imperial to the forefront of the innovative poster
advertising at this time.
By the mid-1930s Imperial Airways were producing some of the most cutting edge modernist posters. Using artists such as Ben Nicholson and Edward McKnight Kauffer, they put Imperial to the forefront of the innovative poster advertising at this time.
These posters are a representative sample of the destinational type of posters produced in the 1960s.
These posters are a representative sample of the destinational type of posters produced in the 1960s.
Several European artists were commissioned to design posters for Imperial Airways. They are unusual in that the advertising message appears rather subliminal.
Several European artists were commissioned to design posters for Imperial Airways. They are unusual in that the advertising message appears rather subliminal.
In 1926 Imperial had introduced the ‘Argosy’, the first of its multi-engine crafts and designed as a civil airliner and not a converted First World War bomber as many early passenger aircraft were. Its large cabin was spacious and comfortable and‘Comfort in the Air’ was a recurring advertising theme throughout Imperial’s years of operation. Prospective passengers had to be reassured that flying was safe but also comfortable and to a standard comparable to the railways and shipping companies.
In 1926 Imperial had introduced the ‘Argosy’, the first of its multi-engine crafts and designed as a civil airliner and not a converted First World War bomber as many early passenger aircraft were. Its large cabin was spacious and comfortable and‘Comfort in the Air’ was a recurring advertising theme throughout Imperial’s years of operation. Prospective passengers had to be reassured that flying was safe but also comfortable and to a standard comparable to the railways and shipping companies.
By the early 1930s, Imperial had gotten into its stride and its initial long-haul route development
to the Middle East and India was well established. Imperial’s advertising also started to become more interesting; this example highlighting Egypt, which was Imperial’s Middle East ‘hub’, used as a base to develop new routes to Africa and the Far East in the early 1930s.
By the early 1930s, Imperial had gotten into its stride and its initial long-haul route development to the Middle East and India was well established. Imperial’s advertising also started to become more interesting; this example highlighting Egypt, which was Imperial’s Middle East ‘hub’, used as a base to develop new routes to Africa and the Far East in the early 1930s.
During the 1950s BOAC maintained its painted posters including some of its best from artists such as Abram Games. It also commissioned several series type posters by the artist Aldo 
Cosomati who used a cartoon type caricature of people from various countries. Each with a dark blue background they were certainly eye-catching and different from much of what had gone before.
During the 1950s BOAC maintained its painted posters including some of its best from artists such as Abram Games. It also commissioned several series type posters by the artist Aldo Cosomati who used a cartoon type caricature of people from various countries. Each with a dark blue background they were certainly eye-catching and different from much of what had gone before.
The coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 was another opportunity to promote 
travel to the UK. The event actually caused an imbalance in traffic flows with the expected increase in passengers travelling to the UK, especially those from North America, not matched by those returning. Other airlines had a similar experience so perhaps many returned by sea. Sea travel was the main travel option for most people across the North Atlantic right up to the early1960s.
The coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 was another opportunity to promote travel to the UK. The event actually caused an imbalance in traffic flows with the expected increase in passengers travelling to the UK, especially those from North America, not matched by those returning. Other airlines had a similar experience so perhaps many returned by sea. Sea travel was the main travel option for most people across the North Atlantic right up to the early1960s.
BEA’s business became very cyclical as it sought to promote its European destinations in the 1960s.
BEA’s business became very cyclical as it sought to promote its European destinations in the 1960s.