A little while ago I went to the Transport Museum to see the exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the underground. A selection of underground posters are on show giving advice on how to use the underground, where you can get to and the wonders of modern technology. The one poster that has stuck out in my mind is the one above which was made in 1926 showing the future a hundred years from then. You can’t see the detail, and I can’t quite remember the timings, but basically it suggested that in the future travel would be revolutionised with high speed trains to Scotland taking around 20 minutes and flights (in blimp type aircrafts) taking approximately 36 hours. What intrigued me about this ‘future reality’ in particular was how we perceive things will be in the future based on what things are like now. In 1926 trains were long established but cross-Atlantic flights were rare, the first trans-Atlantic flight had taken place in 1919 going from Newfoundland in the US to the UK and taking 23 days! At the time, then it would have seemed impossible that flights would be so fast as only taking the suggested 2 days but surely trains would only become faster (as I imagine train speed had already increased exponentially by that stage). Standing at the vantage point of 2013 I know that flights are exceedingly faster than that and have to say that the I am doubtful of a train being invented in the next 10 years that will take me to Scotland in 20 minutes when it currently takes me 2 hours to get across London.
I guess what I am taking away from this is that your current reality can distort the way you see your own future. Perhaps sometimes we need to suspend reality and disbelief and imagine how different our worlds can be in a year or ten or fifty. Things might not always go according to plan but did you imagine that ten years ago you would be sharing your life on the internet and you would walk around with things devices that allowed you share ‘hipster’ photos and 140 character messages with people around the world, some who you have never even met. Imagine what you could do if you put those same ‘unexpectations’ on your dreams and yourself.
p.s. the Poster Exhibition is still open to the end of October 2013 if you want to find some vintage design inspiration!