Peep boards, photo boards … what to call them?

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The boards are back in town! Photo cutouts, or face-in-the-hole boards, are back in fashion and creating a marketing storm for our clients such as Autoglass, Chepstow Racecourse, The Sun and others. But we have a problem: what exactly should they be called?

Just look at all the different names we have come across for boards that you poke your face through to have your photo taken. Click on the camera image to make it bigger.

peep board, face-in-the-hole board, character board, photo op board, standee board
People just can’t decide what to call them!

Peep boards, photo cutout boards (of course), Aunt Sally boards, peep through boards, character boards, photo boards, standee boards, face-in-the-hole boards, fat lady on the beach boards … how come there are so many different names for the same thing?

Some people call them Aunt Sally boards because of the traditional English pub and fairground game of throwing sticks and other items at a model bust of ‘Aunt Sally’, a generic character used for venting spleen upon. Why everybody hated her isn’t clear. Fortunately this tradition has largely died out, though versions are still played in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. The most famous use in mainstream television was Una Stubb’s Aunt Sally character in Worzel Gummidge. 

Peep boards? Famed diarist Samuel Pepys wrote of one of these boards after happening upon one at a fairground. They then became known as ‘Pepys’ boards’.

All right, we made that one up.

Standee or character boards are actually not quite the ones you put your face through, but we have seen them referred to by this name. Standee/character boards are what are commonly known as ‘cardboard cutouts’ or ‘lifesize cutouts’, like the one Justin Beiber made his fans pay $2,000 to ‘meet’ backstage. They are used to promote films, but do not usually have a hole. People generally stand next to them to have their photo taken.

Face-in-the-hole boards? Theories abound as to the origin of this name, but we feel it’s likely to be connected to the fact that you put your face in the hole.

Fat lady on the beach boards? Well of course that one comes from the art of Donald McGill, whose name is synonymous with the saucy seaside postcards we all know and love, like this one that got McGill into a bit of trouble with the law in 1954 when he was 80.

peep boards, photo boards, donald mcgill
Oo-err missus!


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