Maximum Meaning, Minimum Means
Born in Whitechapel, London in 1914, the son of a Latvian photographer and Russian seamstress first saw light as Abram Gamse (later changed to Games). Already from an early age, Abram was passionate about the progressive potential of design. These days while graphic design is, again, having a mainstream moment, I feel it is time to look back and think of the granddaddy of graphic design, Mr. Abram Games.
Abram Games' reputation as a graphic designer was based on his ability to weave together layers of ideas with a great economy of means. He realized that if you combine several images in one iconic design, the result involves the spectator in a visual game to unravel the layers of meaning within.
Games belonged to the golden age of British graphic design when the commercial artist produced hand crafted concepts in the days before corporate design agencies devoured the individuality of the graphic designer. As a freelance commercial artist he produced posters for an astonishing list of clients that included Shell, London Transport, BEA, BOAC, Guinness, The Royal Shakespeare Company, London Zoo, The Metropolitan Police, The Times and The Financial Times. For the BBC he designed their first logo.
During WWII, Games became the official British War Office poster artist, designing over 100 propaganda and military related posters. He developed his amazingly minimal sense of design elements at this time, with a strong impact in the graphic messages portrayed. These images became famous and not without controversy, as the press named his ATS poster the “blonde bombshell.” It depicted a beautiful ATS girl for the Auxiliary Territorial Service, in her deep red lipstick. Controversy only added to his career, and he became a sought after advertising commercial artist, designing logos, posters, advertisements, for such companies as British Airways, Guiness Beer, London Rail Transport and Underground, the UN, Israeli airline El Al, among others.
Throughout the 60 years of his career Games used modern design techniques and sophisticated wit to achieve the objective of his personal design philosophy, Maximum meaning, minimum means.