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Rob Bailey talks through creating over 40 posters for London Underground

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If you’ve been catching the London Underground recently you will have spotted Rob Bailey’s striking illustrations for Transport for London. Rob’s vivid drawings balance informative illustration with visually pleasing design, advising commuters and tourists day to day. 

Briefed by M&C Saatchi, the project “ran for almost two years between November 2014 and October 2016,” before they were unleashed underground. Working closely with M&C Saatchi’s art director Gary Monaghan and head of art Grant Parker, the project was one of constant conversation in order to create over 40 posters. 

“Gary would send me sketches and I’d translate them into my style,” Rob tells It’s Nice That. “I’d send them back to him and we’d go back and forth from there. Once the illustration was done, Gary would place the type.” The illustrator explains that it wasn’t a process of experimentation, he succinctly translated initial sketches into finished pieces. “To be honest, it was rare that the ideas strayed too much from the original sketches, Gary’s drawings are really concise and to the point, he understood really well what would work in my reductive style and what wouldn’t, making my job easier.” This direct approach was one the illustrator appreciated. “While having a very prescriptive brief can often be frustrating or dull, when the time scales are short and there’s such a large amount of work to be finished it’s actually a blessing.” 

Not a Londoner himself, Rob wasn’t faced with is own work while travelling. “I didn’t have to see them everyday, I would have hated that. All my friends that do live in London certainly did enough hating of them in place though, I would regularly get texts saying they were sick of them, or sick of me, it’s good to have supportive friends.”

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List Work / Illustration Costa Rican illustrator Adrian Mangel draws the modern American landscape

24-year-old illustrator Adrian Mangel lives in New York — where he studied at Parsons — but he grew up in Costa Rica. “Being born and raised in Costa Rica definitely influenced the way I consume images,” Adrian tells us. “For a country that doesn’t have a very solid pre-Columbian culture, the influence of American culture is very strong. In a way this gave me a free pass to appropriate images that aren’t necessarily from here, but are relevant (or present) across cultural borders. Experiences of daily life, popular culture, sports, politics, are all things that are present in the lives of people around the globe and this makes them worth exploring. This is mostly how I chose my subject matter. Also, football is religion in Costa Rica, so that always manages to creep back into my work somehow.”

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