Alfred Ambrose Chew Leete was a British graphic artist who was born in 1882 and died at the age of 51 in 1933. His career as a professional paid artist started when the Daily Graphic accepted one of his drawings at the age of 16. He later contributed regularly to a number of magazines including Punch magazine, the Strand magazine & Tatler. As a commercial artist, Leete designed numerous posters and advertisements, especially in the 1910s and 1920s, for brands such as Rowntrees, Guinness and Bovril. His series of advertisements for the “Underground Electric Railway Company” (the London Underground as we know it) were very well known, and extremely under wraps as the only was to view the work is to visit the London Underground Museum  His work as a wartime propagandist includes the poster for which he is the most known; The “Lord Kitchener” Poster Design, which first appeared on the cover of the weekly magazine London Opinion on 5 September 1914.


The above image is the first ‘edition’ of the Lord Kitchener Ad, featured as the cover for the London Opinion. This cover was the very first edition to be seen by the world. The below image, was edited by the printers, and they added the background/paper colour and made the fonts bolder.


This design was printed over 54 million times in all forms of sizes and on all types of media and adverts. The design was ‘aimed’ to bringing in 100,000 new volunteers, as the UK was the only country in Europe at the time to use recruitment and not conscription, meaning the UK required volunteers and couldn’t pick people to join the army. In fact, the design prompted an extra 500,000 English volunteers for the First World War. It’s no wonder that Campaign Magazine voted the Lord Kitchener Poster Design the second best Ad of all time.

Over the years, there have been many imitations of this design – including other counties such as America, Germany & Russia. My favourite of the bunch is the Uncle Sam imitation (from the USA). If anything, I think the Uncle Sam design (image below) is more famous than the original – I know it was pictured in my History Room at High School, and when I thought of the I want you campaign (for this lecture), I thought of the Uncle Sam edition.


I prefer this design because it is much more patriotic – the colours (or should i say colors) really relate to America with the red, white and blue and the use of the stars. The font also works a lot better on this one – its much bolder and looks more digital than the original, although it was only done three years later in 1917. The colours are much bolder and richer, and the outlining of the letters really brings them out of the white space. The image is a lot sterner also – giving it more of an impact on the eye.

I’ve heard today that this type of propaganda imagery may/will be at the Exhibition in Coventry we will be visiting next week, so I expect this research and my opinion to give me more of an in depth experience.