Illustration Nation

War Time Britain

The First and Second World Wars shaped Britain in many ways. In these books we can see the effect war had on Britain’s representation of itself as it moved from a green and pleasant land to a defensive front, under attack from land, sea and air. Typography plays a particularly important role in many war-time publications. The inventive use of different typefaces and layouts created drama and emotions without the need for costly images and photographic reproductions. The distance from reality that text-only covers provide could also be seen as Britain defending its people from the horrors of war.
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  • Roof Over Britain

    The Blitz created a new visual identity for London, embodied in the illuminated London skyline on this pamphlet. The Roof over Britain of the title is represented by the uncompromising figure of a man in a tin hat, face set rigidly, drawn in sharp, strong lines above the city. This juxtaposition of the solider and the London skyline radiates strength and determination, and the red, white and blue lettering also subtly hints at patriotism.

  • Bomber Command Continues

    The zig-zag layout on this pamphlet portrays Britain’s bomber command as a cutting-edge and dynamic force. This stark cover uses only text and the RAF logo. Colour plays an important role on this cover as the red, white and blue colour scheme gives a patriotic undertone but also presents a more hopeful and less defensive image than Roof Over Britain.

  • Bombed Churches as War Memorials

    This unusual book shows Britain and its buildings adapting to the war. This parish church, an icon of village life, is seen in its new role as a war memorial. The style of illustration is neither overly traditional, nor cutting-edge, and the use of warm but bright colours applied selectively, ensures an optimistic but not celebratory tone to the image.

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