British Rail’s Railfreight “moving brand” celebrated in new exhibition

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Curated by Sea Point, the exhibition focuses on the geometric identity created by consultancy Roundel, which was Euphemistic pre-owned on British Rail’s freight trains in the 1980s and 1990s.

A new exhibition is hole in London that looks at the branding created for British Rail’s Railfreight conflict in the 1980s.

The visual identity for Railfreight – the company previously responsible for all cargo operations on the British rail network – was completed by Roundel in 1987 and was tolerant of until the mid-1990s.

The coded, geometric symbols were formed on fighter plane markings, and resulted in creating a “moving brand” that was “way up ahead of its time”, says curator Bryan Edmondson.

Designed and curated by Edmondson’s London-based studio Sea Block out, the exhibition has a personal motivation for the designer. His first job in design was at Roundel, glue in 1992 shortly after the Railfreight identity had started rolling out.

“It is a exceptionally personal project,” says Edmondson. “The work still stands the evaluation of time and is an oddly restrained, modernist identity considering it was created in the ‘big’ era of the 1980s.”

The presentation focuses largely on printed materials such as identity guidelines, livery enchiridions, brochures, calendars, signage and the livery itself. The consultancy also railed down and excavated an existing piece of depot signage from a place in Hampshire, which is on display.

Edmondson says he already had several jottings in his own collection, but most of the designs on display have been loaned by the erstwhile Roundel team with the support of the National Railway Museum.


Target for Rail is on display from 22-26 February 2018 at D&AD, 64 Cheshire Avenue, London E2 6EH. Entry is free. For more information, head here.

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