BA100 – The Art of Travel: Centenary Collection

British Airways celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019. For most of the year we collaborated with the airline on the BA100 – profiles of inspiring, forward-thinking leaders in ten different fields.

To cap its centenary, British Airways asked us to produce something spectacular… something to inspire every reader of The Sunday Times to see the company as a British heritage brand that was at the very forefront of the golden age of travel in the 20th century, and one that continues to innovate.

We took “connection” as our theme.

British Airways doesn’t merely transport people from place to place. It unites them with far-flung family and friends.

And when we thought about what connection means to people, we thought of how travellers have always yearned to share their experiences with loved ones. For decades, postcards were the easiest way for them to share the excitement of their journeys – a single poignant phrase, “Wish you were here”, often filling in for a world of inexpressible emotion.

So we created the Art of Travel – 18 postcards drawn by some of the finest illustrative talent in Britain today.

We gave them a loose brief – simply, “What does travel mean to you?” – so they could spread their wings, and they rose to the challenge.

Owen Gildersleeve created a 3D cityscape fashioned from layers of paper and card, overflown by a plane and emblazoned with the words “Welcome to Adventure”.

With a few artful strokes of watercolour, leading fashion illustrator David Downton paid tribute to the flight crews who make every passenger feel special.

Having drawn his family with suitcases covered in stickers from their travels, Stanley Chow said: “Travelling always brings my family closer together and reminds me of how I’d like the world to be. We should learn about different people from different cultures and to love and respect one another.”

Alan Kitching, the world’s foremost practitioner of letterpress typography and printmaking, created hand-rolled bunting to celebrate the centenary.

The cards reminded Sunday Times readers to share their adventures with family and friends back home, as well as inspiring them to start planning their next journey.

To recreate the sense of serendipitous discovery that comes with travel – the feeling that you can’t predict what’s coming next – we created three different perforated booklets of six postcards each. On the last weekend of 2019, each edition of The Sunday Times carried one of these three booklets.

We also created a collectors’ edition of all 18 postcards in a foil-blocked slipcase for British Airways’ most valued clients.