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Abram Games (London, 1914—London, 1996), British graphic designer.

 

Born Abraham Gamse, he was the son of immigrants: a Latvian photographer and a Russo-

Polish seamstress. He anglicized his name to Games at age 12 and was essentially an

autodidactic designer, having attended London's St. Martins School of Art (today the Central

Saint Martins College of Art and Design) for only two terms. However, while working as a

"studio boy" in commercial design firm Askew-Young in London 1932-36, he was attending

night classes in life drawing. He was fired from this position due to his jumping over four chairs

as a prank. 1934, his entry was second in the Health Council Competition and, 1935, won a

poster competition for the London City Council. 1936-40, he was on his own as a freelance

poster artist.

 

The style of his work - refined but vigorous compared to the work of contemporaries - has

earned him a place in the pantheon of the best of 20th-century graphic designers. In

acknowledging his power as a propagandist, he claimed, "I wind the spring and the public, in

looking at the poster, will have that spring released in its mind." Because of the length of his

career - over six decades - his work is essentially a record of the era's social history. Some of

Britain's most iconic images include those by Games. An example is the "Join the ATS"

propaganda poster of 1941, nicknamed the "Blonde Bombshell" recruitment poster. From

1942, during World War II, Games's service as the Official War Artist resulted in 100 or so

posters.

 

1946, he resumed his freelance practice and worked for clients such Shell, Financial Times,

Guinness, British Airways, London Transport, El Al, and the United Nations. He designed

stamps for Britain, Jersey, and Israel. Also, he designed the logo for JFS situated currently in

north-west London. There were also book jackets for Penguin Books and logos for the 1951

Festival of Britain (winning the 1948 competition) and the 1965 Queen's Award to Industry.

Evidence of his pioneering contributions is the first (1953) moving on-screen symbol of BBC

Television. 1946-53, Games was a visiting lecturer in graphic design at London's Royal

College of Art; 1958, was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to

graphic design; 1959, was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI). In the 1950s and

of Jewish heritage, he was known to have spent some time in Israel where, among other

activities, he designed stamps for the Israeli Post Office and taught a course in postage-stamp

design.

 

Games was also an industrial designer of sorts. Activities in this discipline included the design

of the 1947  CONA  vacuum coffee maker:-

 

 

1950''S Cona REX by Abram Games

 

(produced from 1949, reworked in 1959 and still in production)