As part of the London Design Festival, writers’ group 26 developed a project to produce billboard posters across the capital. Each of the writers involved was asked to work with a designer to create a story in six words relevant to the poster location.
Writer Claire Falcon asked if I would like to work with her on a poster site on the A5 in Hendon. I know the area well and the site is on one of the oldest roads in London known to the Romans as Watling Street although it is likely to be much older. It is an arrow-straight line out of central London clearly visible on maps marking the boundary between several boroughs.
The road is still well used particularly by commuters heading back to the suburbs most of whom pass straight through this unlovely part of Hendon. But our poster site is at a junction and if you turn left, you quickly reach the Welsh Harp reservoir with its nature reserves and abundant bird life. It’s a little oasis amongst the traffic-choked roads of North West London.
This gave us the theme for the poster: a bird, renowned for going in a straight line deciding to take a detour for once. Our hope was that this poster might encourage some of the commuters whizzing by to have a break from their routine and discover this peaceful corner of the city.
As well as the poster site we were allocated two phone box sites in Lambs Conduit Street and Gower Street to recreate our story. I still wonder what people found if they took our advice and changed course!
Our poster site in Hendon
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The 26 Posters project