Weltstreckennetz der KLM.

Weltstreckennetz der KLM.


J.F. Van der Leeuw

Published ca. 1950



A great poster designed for the KLM Royal Dutch Air Lines that advertised the different routes offered by this premiere aviation company in a new and exciting age of travel and modern day exploration.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines which stands for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, was founded in 1919 and is the worlds oldest airline.  At it’s inception, a trip to its former Indonesian colonial capital of Batavia (Jakarta), the trip would have been measured in weeks.  A far cry from the time it took to supply its Dutch colonies in the 17th Century, but much longer than the travel time of 15 hours it now takes to go from Amsterdam to South East Asia.

Van Der Leeuw’s poster depicts a world in pictorial format that helps convey the image of a world of peace and easy accessibility.  A stark contrast to a world ravaged by World War II less than a decade prior to its publication.  To that end, posters as a means of advertising and of mass communication help create brand awareness through positive association with visual effects that will help elicit powerful emotions from the viewer in much the same way that war propaganda worked to justify actions taken or solicited.  With the use of non threatening images to depict different countries and continents, KLM attempts to create an instantly recognizable world.  For example, Van der Leeuw maintains cartographic elements such as a wind rose and the ubiquitous Mercator projection and adds images of three Douglas DC-6 planes to show accessibility.  By drawing the continents without borders and with the use of standard regional imagery, such as penguins near the antarctic, elephants in Africa, kangaroos in Australia, etc., the viewer is enticed to see one world as welcoming, non threatening and without boundaries or constraints that modern air travel permits.