Museum of London

Dickens and London exhibition campaign

In the bicentenary of Dickens’s birth, London was awash with competing imagery. Our job was to create a definitive, stand-out visual that was instantly recognisable whilst conveying the essence the exhibition and, of course, driving ticket sales to an experience-hungry audience.

The campaign was extremely successful with sales far exceeding even their most ambitious forecasts.

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This was a wonderful opportunity to make some mess. Day one was very controlled sketching but by the end of day two we were covered in splashes of blue ink (and so were the studio’s tables).

Michael Smith

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In the final designs, the pen and ink illustration appears to be drawn onto a map of London, with the ink trickling through the streets (as Dickens walked the backstreets of the city, late at night). In our illustration, Dickens literally leaves his mark on London’s streets and vice versa.

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The design was used on countless display, signage and publicity materials, and was even been picked up as a ‘press-shot’ (including the cover of a four-page map supplement in The Times).

It was also a lucrative merchandising commodity during the exhibition run and for calendars into the following year.

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