The National Army Museum has acquired a remarkable collection of iconic posters by Abram Games (1914-96), one of Britain’s greatest graphic designers of the 20th century.
The life of Abram Games
Born in 1914 to Latvian and Russo-Polish parents in Whitechapel, East London, Abram Games joined the Army in 1939 and was quickly designated the role of draughtsman. By 1942 he had been promoted to captain and was the only Official War Poster Artist for the rest of the Second World War.
After the war his freelance career went from strength to strength with commissions for the Festival of Britain, the United Nations, Shell, Guinness and the BBC. After a career spanning over 60 years, Games died in 1996 leaving a legacy of daring, distinctive and elegant images.
Justly famous for his innovative and bold poster commissions, Games claimed that the perfect design employed ‘maximum meaning, minimum means’.
The art of war
As Official War Artist during the Second World War Games produced about 100 extraordinary posters for the British Army, ranging in theme from recruitment, through to personal hygiene and post-war re-training.
The National Army Museum has acquired 45 of these iconic designs, still in mint condition and signed by Games himself.
Perhaps the most famous is his ‘Join the ATS’ propaganda image of 1941. Nicknamed ‘the blonde bombshell’ at the time, it caused considerable controversy for its glamorous portrayal of wartime service.
The Museum has now digitised the posters so that they can be accessed and enjoyed by a broad audience. Visit our Online Collection to explore these digital images in full.
Visitors will also be able to see a selection of the designs when they go on show on Saturday 7 September as part of the Your Country Needs You: British War Posters event at the Museum.