Abram Games

(1914—1996) poster artist and graphic designer

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British graphic designer, born in London. His father was of Latvian origin. His mother came from the border area between Russia and Poland. He started as a freelance designer in 1936 after winning a competition for a poster to encourage enrolment in evening classes. He went on to work for Shell, which at that time had an especially innovative policy in the commissioning of posters. His best-remembered works are the posters he made during the Second World War for propaganda purposes. In these, he applied with great invention ideas from abstract art and Surrealism but never to an extent that the message would be confused for the ordinary viewer. One, designed for the Army Bureau of Current Affairs, was especially controversial and consequently withdrawn. Part of the series ‘Your Britain: Fight for it Now’, it showed a modernist building (Lubetkin's Finsbury Health Centre) gleaming white against the background of a derelict house. The official objection was to the depiction of a child with rickets. Games's own favourite was Your Talk May Kill Your Comrades, in which a spiral coming from the mouth of a soldier turns into a bayonet on which three soldiers are impaled. In Games's practice as a designer there are certain affinities with Neo-Romanticism in the way in which some of the conventions of advanced art have been tamed and made more accessible for popular consumption. His most famous postwar work was the logo for the Festival of Britain. See also AIRBRUSH.

Further Reading

N. Games et al., Abram Games, Graphic Designer: Maximum Meaning, Minimum Means (2003)

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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