Homes for Britain rally (2015)

My posters were so popular, they got stolen!

Published , updated by Richard GoodwinFiled under Illustration

To put the lack of affordable housing on to the political agenda before the General Election, the National Housing Federation organised a rally in London called "Homes for Britain".  Riffing on the "Battle of Britain"-type name, and the extensive post-war house building program, we decided to attend dressed in Home Guard uniforms, and realised we needed matching placards.

I was tasked with creating three designs, based on Second World War information (/propaganda) posters.  Two were based on the "Dig for Victory" posters - a spade being replaced by a trowel in one, and a fashionable land girl building homes replacing an old man growing vegetables.  For the third one I found a great source poster that showed a Canadian beaver fighting alongside the British lion, and I worked a similar lion in to a classic 1940s split colour design.

Having said even before this project that the "Keep Calm and..." meme had been massively over-played, I was relieved to have produced a decent third poster so we didn't need to fall back on "Keep Calm". Only for my boss to say that actually, four designs would be much better...

We tried the designs with company and campaign logos on them, but ultimately we made the bold decision to go without - the campaign was bigger than any one company, and besides, it ruined the look.  This was, in retrospect, a good move.

To cut a long story short we turned up slightly late, to be confronted by a sea of press photographers.  The other companies in attendance had turned up with hand-written placards and T-shirts with company logos on, which didn't pass muster (ahem).  We turned up in costume, placards aloft, attractive blondes in front, advertising-free, and we could barely move.

We featured on the BBC and in The Guardian, The Independent, and although The Times didn't cover the rally proper it devoted over half a page to a photograph of us as part of its budget coverage.  We also attracted a lot of attention online.  Another telling review was that we had to leave the placards to attend the "rally" proper (which had turned into a sit-down debate in a posh building), and on our return all of the other placards were still there... but all of ours had vanished.