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The British Rail Corporate Identity Manual

As designers, when we look at these manuals we sometimes forget to realise that it took many years create this identity with vast amounts of testing and refinement. We’re currently working in an era where everything is so fast past, clients are requiring their commissions with more immediacy. The British Rail Corporate Identity Manual take us back to a slower time.
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British Rail International

British Rail was of course predominantly known for its mainland services within Britain, however it did also have an international arm.The beauty in these graphics are that they never highlighted international travel as being anything different than taking a train to Durham. Although possibly done unintentionally, the normalisation of the design portrayed a nonchalant notion that it was an everyday occurrence...
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British Rail Flying Saucer

With maybe the exception of Virgin, when was the last time you were on a train and asked yourself if the company operating it was thinking about how they could transport you in a UFO type vehicle?In 1970 British Rail filed a patent for a nuclear fusion powered flying saucer. This could be seen as a tremendous waste of public...
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British Rail Symbol

The brilliance of the British Rail Double Arrow isn’t just in its clever symbolism. Many people who have tired to reproduce over the years have mistakenly believed that its a case of organising five lines in a basic geometric order.Gerry Barney who designed it when working for Design Research Unit (DRU), introduced many tiny optical corrections. However, the real genius...
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Core Identity Elements

When the British Rail identity was introduced in 1965, although supported by an extensive manual, it only worked with a few core components: symbol, logotype, typeface and three house colours, not much more than that. Its a true testament to work by DRU, that they were able create a powerful monolithic identity that was still adaptable over many sub services.
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Paper Specifics

Justin Hobson from Fenner Paper has written a brilliant article specifically on the paper, you can read it here. But I’ve made a summarised version for the site.Supplied by Fenner Paper here in the UK, Lessebo Design Smooth White in 130gsm is from the Lessebo Mill. The Lessebo Mill is located in remote area of southern Sweden called Småland. The mill...
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