Design for Rail

In 1987, trains with strange, geometric markings were seen speeding through the night on Britain’s railways. The vivid livery and coded insignia of Railfreight, hauled a grimy and moribund division of British Rail out of the sidings and into a dynamic new era. Roundel’s culture-changing identity for Railfreight was a moving brand ahead of its time.

This self initiated project tells the story of this forgotten yet ground-breaking brand identity.

We were able to piece together this pre-digital identity story through an exhibition and supporting catalogue. At the core of the identity was the ‘F’ logo markings for each sector, applied to each of the locomotives. Like the locomotive livery, the catalogue cover had no title on the front cover, only the graphic expression of the identity system.

This British graphic design classic had not been seen for over three decades and in the age of the internet and social media, the Railfreight identity might now be remembered more widely as part of British Rails design's legacy to an acquainted or re-aquainted design audience.

The exhibition and catalogue was made possible by the design education support of D&AD and other sponsors.

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