BA100: 76. The Art Of The Poster

100 Years Of British Airways: How Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA used aviation posters to sell commercial aviation.

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British Airways 100 Years Of Aviation Posters (Image Credit: Amberley Publishing)
BOAC / Imperial Airways Aviation Posters (Image Credit: British Airways)

This article was first published in the summer of 2019 as part of a 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines. You can read the full series in numerical order, by theme or by decade.

In the early days of commercial aviation, long before television advertising (let alone digital) took hold the principal means by which airlines advertised their services was the poster.

American Airlines, Braniff International Airways, Pan American World Airways, Swissair, Trans World Airways, United Airlines and many others all used the medium to great effect.

This was not only to sell the relatively new and glamorous idea of flying to a small constituency of wealthy travellers, but also their respective fleets and route networks, to passengers in their home markets and around the world. They use a variety of techniques from painting, to illustration and modernist graphic design.

In an era where there is an endless stream of digital content which can often prove to be ephemeral, so much so it’s easy to just glaze over it all, these posters have endured.

Imperial Airways

Imperial Airways, Flying Boats Poster
Imperial Airways, Flying Boats Poster
Imperial Airways Poster
Imperial Airways Poster (Image Credit: British Airways)

BOAC Posters

BOAC Far East Poster
BOAC Far East Poster (Image Credit: British Airways)
BOAC Japan Poster
BOAC Japan Poster (Image Credit: British Airways)
BOAC Caribbean Poster
BOAC Caribbean Poster
Kuala Lumpur by BOAC (Image Credit: British Airways)
Kuala Lumpur by BOAC (Image Credit: British Airways)
BOAC London Poster
BOAC London Poster
BOAC Jet Your Way Around The World Poster
BOAC Jet Your Way Around The World Poster
BOAC Speed Across The World Poster
BOAC Speed Across The World Poster (Image Credit: British Airways)

British European Airways

British European Airways Poster
British European Airways Poster, Hans Schleger, 1947
British European Airways Poster
British European Airways Poster (Image Credit: British Airways)
British European Airways Poster
British European Airways Poster c1960

You can read the full series from our 100 part series on the history of BA in numerical order, by theme or by decade.

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