I graduated from the London College of Printing (now the London College of Communication) in the very hot summer of 1976. My Head of Department was a man I really liked and respected but it was only after I left college did I truly appreciate who he was and began to appreciate his amazing work.
Tom Eckersley was born in 1914 and in 1930 he enrolled into Salford Art School then in 1934 he moved to London to become a freelance poster artist. During the 1930’s, Tom was amongst the foremost poster artists of the period, producing work for Shell and London Transport, a relationship which lasted over 50 years.
World War 2 marked the end of his commercial art for a while but did lead to work for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
The realisation of the posters ability to communicate complex messages was recognised during the war as propaganda messages were successfully conveyed and mass media was developed.
In 1954 Eckersley joined the London College of Printing (LCP, now named London College of Communication) where he established the first undergraduate courses in graphic design in Britain and was Head of Graphic Design at the College from 1957 until 1977.
I recall this LEPRA poster vividly – it was framed and on the wall outside his office where the door was always open to students for advice or a chat.
Our college had a huge print based department, Tom also designed many posters for use throughout various departments. I also remember this one sited in the letterpress department.
An amazing artist and from personal memory, an inspiring lecturer who was dedicated to advising and helping his students. I feel really privileged that I met and had the chance to talk to him.