Another block of work that was clearly inspired on several levels by the LU approach was the 1920s Chicago Utilities posters. From 1922, and continuing throughout the decade, the Chicago region's elevated railway platforms, stations, and coach interiors were emblazoned with graphic art, advertising everything from railway transit to electric utility service. Frank Pick was the one who ran the show for the London Underground and commissioned not only the artists to do the poster but Edward Johnston to design the Johnston Underground typeface in 1916—our studio's font as well!
In Chicago, it was utilities tycoon Samuel Insull and his assistant, Britton Budd, who organized and employed the same poster approach as in the U.K. It's good to know that Insull was a Brit who retained close ties to London throughout his life and was undoubtedly well acquainted with the success of Pick's approach to transit advertising. Insull and Budd arranged for well-known artists like Ervine Metzl and Leslie Ragan to design the lithographed graphics but also employed young regional artists—such as Oscar Rabe Hanson and Walter Graham, to name a couple. The Chicago posters went almost forgotten until David Gartler curated an exhibition of the Insull posters at his vintage poster shop, Poster Plus, on Chicago's north side in 1975.