UK artists push for people power in colourful poster campaign

The #PostersforthePeople campaign has raised £5,000 for charity and uses original artwork to splash our thanks to key workers all over the streets

Renowned designers from across the UK have teamed up with Leeds street art project In Good Company to bring joy to the city streets and thank key workers for their efforts – raising £5,000 for charity so far.

The Posters For the People campaign saw the artists – briefed by designer and In Good Company curator Laura Wellington – creating banners bursting with colour for people to buy and place outside their homes, in their businesses or in their local schools and hospitals.

The posters were designed by Morag Myerscough, Risotto Studio, Rebecca Strickson, Luke Tonge, Anthony Burrill, Studio Build and Craig Black after Wellington sought to get artists from every corner of the UK on board to ensure it was a truly national effort.

All profits from the £19.80 posters are split evenly between the artists’ chosen charities including St Luke’s Hospice, The Blurt Foundation, ARTfelt, the Trussell Trust and NHS Charities Together.

Wellington, also a co-founder of Duke Studios, came up with the idea alongside Leeds creative advertising business We Are FYI who have eight billboards on Hyde Park Corner in the city.

“It popped into my head to use them as part of In Good Company to create a big thank you to our key workers,” Wellington told The Big Issue.

“I approached Morag Myerscough that same night and we turned the initial four billboards and two thank you boards around in 72 hrs.

I was inspired by the public outpouring for the NHS. There are a lot of people who have to keep going to work everyday to keep our country running – people that have no choice but to put themselves at risk. So I set out to say thank you to everyone through art, colour, joy and fun. We wanted to raise both funds and smiles.”

The public response to the first boards designed by London artist Morag Myerscough was “phenomenal” and as a result Wellington approached advertisers Pop Art Media Group who agreed to let her use their 150 poster sites for the campaign.

I didn’t give the artists any other specifications other than the size and orientation of print,” Wellington said. “I wanted all of their artists to create their take on it, I didn’t want to set parameters or tone of voice for the collection of work. In Good Company’s normal ethos is all about art that isn’t designed by committee and I wanted to be true to that even in this instance.”

In under two weeks more than 1,000 pieces of art have made it to people’s streets, schools and businesses with orders coming from as far afield as Italy and the US. Now Leeds Library and the Poster House, a poster museum in New York City, have requested banners be sent to them to be added to their permanent collections as an example of something that was created during the crisis.

Wellington has plans to push the project even further with an In Good Company beer, emblazoned with Myerscough’s artwork, produced in collaboration with North Brewing Co. and set to drop later this month, with proceeds going to Mind and the Blurt Foundation to help tackle what could be a major mental health crisis following lockdown.

She added: “My passion is thinking of ideas to put smiles on people’s faces with creativity and community at the heart of them, so I’m kind of in my element.”

Image: In Good Company