This is a website about the British Rail Corporate Identity from 1965–1994 which includes a wealth of digitised examples of British Rail design material collected over several years. I hope you find it useful and inspiring, whether you're a practitioner or historian of graphic design, a scale modeller or simply a connoisseur of corporate design at its aesthetically satisfying best.
Whilst sourcing documents for this project, it became clear that few employees or contemporaries of the British Rail era had undertaken to retain any sort of archive of the documents in question; evidently a large quantity of British Rail's design archive was unceremoniously skipped at some stage during the privatisation of the British Rail under John Major's Conservative Government in the mid-90s. A small remainder of material found its way to the National Railway Museum in York and is now available through the museum's Search Engine facility. A number of other examples also now reside at the National Archives in Kew, including several portfolio pieces of interesting correspondence between British Railways, the Design Research Unit (the agency commissioned with the original branding project) and Jock Kinneir who, along with his colleague Margaret Calvert, was responsible for the conception of Rail Alphabet, the bespoke typeface for the then newly formed British Rail.
I am particularly indebted to Barry Gray, signage and wayfinding consultant, who for many years worked in the Department of Architecture, Design and the Environment at British Rail. Not only has he has very kindly lent me a number of manuals and information sheets to help fill the numerous gaps in my own collection, but has provided a wealth of historical insight into the management of such a large and complex design system and its particular application to signage, a feature of the railways consistently neglected by scale modellers, partly because, until now, there has been nowhere to find the required resources.
Thanks must also go to Tony Howard of Transport Design Consultancy (previously Head of Design at British Rail) and Tim Procter, Curator of Archive & Library Collections at the National Railway Museum, who have both been extremely helpful.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information on this website is correct but, as with any project of this magnitude, there will almost certainly be some errors. Please contact me if you have any feedback, corrections or suggestions for future development, or if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities on this website. I would be particularly grateful to hear from anyone who has any historical material, including photographs or design manuals that they would be willing to offer that would otherwise be gathering dust in an attic.