Meet the Artist: Johnny Lancaster – Ideas on a Poster

March 20, 2021 2 min read

Darlington based graphic designer Johnny Lancaster is the talented mastermind and founder of the spectacular ‘The Poster Parlour’. Johnny takes inspiration from the mid 20th century travel posters and collaborates them with his own ideas to create North East themed posters and prints with a fresh contemporary twist. The Poster Parlour endeavours to capture the everyday beauty we find right upon our doorsteps here in the North East, with depictions of locations and dialectal colloquialisms.

The North East is an area of vast contrast, from bustling cosmopolitan cityscapes, to quiet shell-strewn coves, enclosed forests and castles, to industrial steelworks and docks, it’s difficult to ever tire of its beauty. Aside from the regions stunning landscapes and scenery, it is the people of the North East that truly make it such a special place, something that Johnny recognises and honours in his designs. The people from the North East are resilient, descendants of those who endured feuds, invasion, harsh industry and, obviously, bitterly cold weather. But us Northerners are also innately optimistic, we never take the beauty that surrounds us for granted, we know that, if it rains today, it will be sunny tomorrow. 

Johnny’s simple yet bold compositions perfectly distil the essence of each place – his ‘Tyne’ poster features only four of the bridges that cross the iconic river, yet they are so distinct that they are wholly sufficient in their intention to convey a sense of Newcastle. Each poster possesses the power of virtual transportation – it feels as though you could be in the sunny ‘Scarbados’ by simply looking at the ice-cream-coloured poster of the quintessential English beach front. Like the railway posters Johnny is so deeply influenced by, they are joyful and welcoming.

Local sayings also feature on Johnny’s posters, written in striking, vivid typefaces. ‘Gan Canny’, ‘It’s Grim Up North’, and ‘You’re Home’ are just a few of the sayings that are popular amongst locals and non-locals alike. Such Northern idioms and phrases either recognised with glee, followed by a chirpy rendition of the phrase, or met with confusion, usually followed by a baffled tourist politely asking: ‘what does ‘gan’ mean?’ Either way, they invoke joy and amusement to all who read them.

Johnny Lancaster’s The Poster Parlour ultimately captures the essence of the North East. His prints come with the promise that, wherever you’re from, the North will always welcome you with open arms and proudly exclaim: ‘You’re Home!’

Amelia Dunn
Amelia Dunn


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