New designs for rail
The previously Virgin-owned LNER rail line has been temporarily renationalized and taken over by the government, and given a new name and identity to match the BrandCooke study.
The Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) has been renamed the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), following the collapse of the private franchise.
VTEC, now LNER, is a railway line that runs from London to Edinburgh to Inverness. It was operated by private companies Virgin and Stagecoach, but the companies were unable to meet the payments promised in their contract, allegedly caused by fewer passengers and revenue than anticipated, according to the Guardian.
Creative designs for train line
Trainline now run by the government
The train line has now been temporarily renationalized and will be managed by the Department of Transportation.
The government department commissioned the BrandCooke design studio to re-brand the company as LNER, which is a return to the original name used by the train line nearly 100 years ago.
BrandCooke created a new identity for the rail line, which distinguishes it from the VTEC brand but retains some design elements such as the color palette, so there is no need to drastically change the decor and existing train, says Gary Cooke, founder of the design. study.
Sharper “N” character
The new branding includes a red and white color palette, reminiscent of Virgin Trains, used in conjunction with the name LNER in a sans-serif typeface, which is a custom version of Gotham.
The “N” has been lengthened and given sharper dots, and is used as a diagonal dividing device for color, images, and text.
Cooke says the studio avoided designing something with a “nostalgic, retro feel” that “railroad fans might have loved” but would have been very similar to the rebrand from First First Western to GWR completed in 2015 by John Rushworth, Partner at Pentagram.
“Bringing back the ‘apple green’ or ‘light blue’ color palette from LNER’s glory years, when the interiors of the new VTEC fleet had already been agreed upon and produced, would have been a costly exercise,” says Cooke. “We had to make sure the transition flowed smoothly from VTEC to LNER. Many of the new high-speed trains, which will arrive later this year, have already produced their interiors and fabrics. ”
Go back to Gerry Barney’s British Railroad symbol
He adds that the “N” symbol in the new logo has a “directional” quality, which “subconsciously” returns to the British Rail logo, designed by Gerry Barney in 1964.
The diagonal symbol is also used in the upper right corner of posters and advertisements, to further symbolize the northeast.
The rebranding comes a few months before a new fleet of high-speed trains called the Azuma fleet is launched on LNER in December 2018, launched on the Great Western Railway (GWR) last year.
Azuma trains were created and marketed under Virgin Trains, so Cooke kept the name but integrated the pointy style of the new “N” into the “Z” at Azuma.
“Azuma is Japanese for the East and by integrating the letter ‘N’ in LNER to form the letter ‘Z’ in Azuma, the logo is expressed in the northeast,” he says.
Illustrators to be brought in later
Stock photography has been used for various destinations. There was no time to commission illustrators and photographers due to the short time frame of the project, but this is something that could be carried forward in the future, says Cooke, given the graphic design history of the original LNER, which features illustrative posters among the 1920s and 1940s
“We wanted the new brand to look bold and confident,” says Cooke. “We didn’t want the LNER launch to be like sticking a plaster over the old brand; It had to be a well thought out identity and a really professional job ”.
The brand guidelines have now been passed on to LNER’s York-based in-house design team, who will develop the brand in hopes of commissioning illustrators.
The new branding has now spread through station signage and advertising, such as at London’s King’s Cross and York stations, on marketing and print materials, digital platforms and merchandise. It is currently being rolled out in the train’s livery, but will be launched in its entirety in the livery when the Azuma trains launch later in 2018.