Power, The Nerve Centre of London’s Underground by E. McKnight Kauffer

“Power, The Nerve Centre of London’s Underground” by Edward McKnight Kauffer is a 40 5/8 x 24 3/4″, ¬†lithograph poster that was created for the Underground Railroad Company in 1930. This was one of the many 140 posters that Kauffer designed for the company. Being commissioned by the Underground Railroad Company was a big push in his career. After moving to England from Paris where he studied, and picking up commissions here and there, it was these posters that helped to make his name known. The design features a transition between machine parts and a hand to show a connection between society and travel. Many aspects are reflective of traditional Art Deco characterizations such as the machine and transportation subject matter as well as the bold shapes used with the piece’s use of color, flow, and hierarchy draws the eye in a zig-zag patter down the poster without any breaks. Although, one of Kauffer’s points of contrast among other advertisement designers at the time was that he still considered himself to be an artist, and constantly pushed the boundaries between fine and applied arts, which can be seen here as a deeper study can reveal a bigger picture about the Underground Railroad Company’s role in society and the future of transportation at the time. The series of posters created for the company may have had a large impact on society and travel on its own. Painting a picture of power and adventure, Kauffer’s designs drew the eye of many in the direction of a new era of engineering.