OPINION13 January 2012

Vintage visualisations

A poster display at the London Transport Museum reminds us that data visualisation has been around for a long time.

We know our readers like data visualisations, so we thought we’d end the week with some vintage examples.

The London Transport Museum currently has a display of old posters, some dating back to the early 20th century, that use visualisations of data to promote the benefits of public transport.

This 1915 poster by Alfred Leete advertises the speed of the London Underground compared to travelling by horse and cart:


This 1965 poster encouraging bus travel is particularly effective:


And this one by Charles Shepard attempts to get across the scale of the work of the London General Omnibus Company in 1923:


Some are more successful than others in using pictures to convey a message, but they’re all interesting and fun to look at – and serve as a reminder that the idea of visualising data has been with us for a long time.

The Painting by Numbers display runs until Sunday 18 March, alongside the Sense and the City exhibition, which looks at how new technologies are changing the way people experience London.

The museum also, of course, has all sorts of fascinating old trains and buses and so on, and is well worth a visit.



11 years ago

I really liked that 1965 poster, seems very ahead of its time. Thanks for sharing, I love vintage! Kadee

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11 years ago

Thanks for bringing them alive, visual message with simplicity always is most effective!

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11 years ago

Love a good data visualisation. Agree 1965 one is very forward thinking, transport co's could do getting these out now!

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