The Boxer’s Punch


Most of the Poster artists of the 1920s and 30s used their skills to depict a full range of subjects. They didn’t just work for the railways. Tom Purvis is a good example, and this poster for Austin Reed’s shows him using his characteristic¬† areas of bold flat colour in the world of men’s fashion.

Explaining his philosophy Purvis said:

A poster’s job is to convey its message clearly and at once. It is essential to get the message completely comprehended by the spectator in not more than three seconds. A good poster should not puzzle people: it should be like the Boxer’s punch – straight, hard and quick – and should deliver its message in a flash……

He was willing to shock and offend people’s sense of aesthetic taste, if need be:

The only result of trying to please everyone….is that, in the end, the work will be so innocuous that no one will ever take any notice of it at all….A bold stroke will attract attention even if it does not please everybody.


Image and text taken from The Technique of the Poster by Leonard Richmond, 1933