Stations rebranded to Great British Railways design / Rail Alphabet 2

LOL The Irony

Established Member
Joined
29 Jul 2017
Messages
4,396
Location
Tokyo-3
Knutsford has been GBR'd.
IMG_20210918_092654_1.jpg
If I have to criticise, the weight of the font is too light and it looks bland. I hope we get the fill branding decided on soon.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Alex McKenna

Member
Joined
5 Mar 2011
Messages
26
I can't see collectors fighting for rare examples of this boring, weak-looking stuff in 100 years time. Give me LT's Johnston typeface any day.
 

takno

Established Member
Joined
9 Jul 2016
Messages
3,808
If I was a travelling passenger, I'd be more likely to travel with a company that has some sort of brand. Black writing on plain white isn't really much of anything and while functional, so is Smart Price toilet paper.
Smart price toilet paper isn't functional though. The main reason people don't buy it is because your fingers go through it. People mostly buy brands like Andrex because they remember that as being one of the ones that wasn't awful. You could get rid of the puppy, the colouring the font of the brand-name and people would still buy it because it would still be the one that their fingers didn't go through.

Equally as a passenger, if I arrived at Edinburgh station and the station sign was the blandest in human history I would still get off there because that's where I live
 

Peter Sarf

Established Member
Joined
12 Oct 2010
Messages
2,571
Location
Croydon
But do they look cheap, cheerful and an effort to save money or look stingy? Because if the signage is like that, maybe the trains are too! Or do they project a image of a company that cares about it's customers?
If I was a travelling passenger, I'd be more likely to travel with a company that has some sort of brand. Black writing on plain white isn't really much of anything and while functional, so is Smart Price toilet paper.



Remember, it's not about having some multi-coloured expensive sign that sings the trains at you.
It's about a corporate brand and a company identity. Even GBR will need an identity and brand, hence Rail Alphabet 2.
People seem to miss the fact that each company wants it's own brand and own identity and dismiss signage replacement as a "waste of money". It really isn't but not many people see that.

To understand the power of brand and identity, look at the Virgin Group. While not many are fans of Richard Branson, the brand he has "built" from a marketing point of view will always be one of success. Other brands that got in there include Blutac, Sellotape, Tippex, Hoover and to bring things up to date, Google - people rarely use the term "search" these days, they just say "google it".
While these brands aren't public service companies, people need to start looking at GBR from a marketing/branding point of view, not a paying passenger.
But do you really think people chose Virgin West coast because of the station signs ?. Was there an alternative train comapny with different station signs on the same route and on the same platofrms ?.

The alternatives are non rail. Do we need to spice up the road signs - no. How fancy are the signs at airports.

The signs at a station are for information - thay are not part of any brand.
" But do they look cheap, cheerful and an effort to save money or look stingy? Because if the signage is like that, maybe the trains are too! Or do they project a image of a company that cares about it's customers?
If I was a travelling passenger, I'd be more likely to travel with a company that has some sort of brand. Black writing on plain white isn't really much of anything and while functional, so is Smart Price toilet paper."


They are also very clear for those with visual disabilities to use and easily understand. Signs are for wayfinding, not brand identification. By all means paint the trains whatever colour you like, but remember that signs on stations are there to enable people to find the places they need to go to, they have no other purpose.
I agree - it is only meant to be information.
Smart price toilet paper isn't functional though. The main reason people don't buy it is because your fingers go through it. People mostly buy brands like Andrex because they remember that as being one of the ones that wasn't awful. You could get rid of the puppy, the colouring the font of the brand-name and people would still buy it because it would still be the one that their fingers didn't go through.

Equally as a passenger, if I arrived at Edinburgh station and the station sign was the blandest in human history I would still get off there because that's where I live
For ral - Convenience, Seats, Aircon, Times, Frequency, Prices - those are more important than fancy signs that should be for information.
 
Joined
14 Apr 2014
Messages
476
None of the West Yorkshire stations yet. I wonder if WYCA will try and keep co-branding?

Probably not, now they're WYCA. WYPTE would have insisted on it... o_O

(And yes, it looks a bit 'weedy' to me as well.)
Be interested to see what happens in West Yorkshire, WYPTE would indeed have insisted on it! It’s cos of WYPTE , for example , that 155 still exist!
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
71,978
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Which is probably a good thing.

Not sure where people have got this idea that they should be excited by the visual design of a station name board from.

Tell that to Ray Stenning.

Literally everything about the design of public facing rail infrastructure is about marketing. You want the passenger to feel good about the expensive ticket they purchased, not to feel ripped off by paying a premium and seeing something designed right down to a price.

Stenning is right that we need to be "creating desire" for public transport, and good looking branding is vital to that. I really wish he gets the brief for GBR, like London Midland he will do a superb job if he does, even if he is told he has to use RA2.
 

F Great Eastern

Established Member
Joined
2 Apr 2009
Messages
3,386
Location
East Anglia
One of the biggest problems with black on white as we have seen before, is that many of such signs have had problems with keeping clean and also the fact that black on white can often fade, in some stations in East Anglia, it faded so much it was impossible to actually read the sign unless you were very close. These issues are nowhere near as much of a problem when you have white text on a darker background w.

Personally I don't like the whole idea of how they're rolling out these signs. It is dull, uninspiring and it feels a bit like they're trying to bring something back from the past because of wide eyed nostalgia, a bit like the Boris Bus, rather than having anything practical. Go and look at Germany to see how it can be simple, but also not as dull as what we have here.

I'm not against having a uniform brand, but it has to be better than this and is yet another example that the idea of more government control and less control to the train operators, is not going to be the golden ticket to improving our rail system that some people think it is. Because the biggest problem IS the DfT.

I would imagine Ray Stenning would like at this and shake his head as we go back to the dull, lifeless, boring, mundane image of public transport that he has tried so hard to eradicate.

Perhaps we can even not bother painting the Underground stock to take it one step further and just have them with unpainted metal. In fact, why bother with paint on metal at all.
 
Last edited:

py_megapixel

Established Member
Joined
5 Nov 2018
Messages
4,889
Location
Northern England
Literally everything about the design of public facing rail infrastructure is about marketing. You want the passenger to feel good about the expensive ticket they purchased, not to feel ripped off by paying a premium and seeing something designed right down to a price.

Stenning is right that we need to be "creating desire" for public transport, and good looking branding is vital to that.
But if people see this flashy branding but the experience of train travel is still utter s**t then they aren't going to come back. All you've done is applied extremely short-lasting polish to a proverbial turd. If Heinz started licensing their brand to be put on Tesco Value mayonnaise, it doesn't magically make it better quality, and as soon as people realise this has happened, they'll stop buying it.

Improve the experience of train travel, then work on 'creating desire'. There's a reason bus companies tend to launch new branding in conjunction with new fleets and service improvements.

Getting Best Impressions to copy and paste recoloured versions of their design is not what's made the likes of Blazefield successful. It's the fact that they've done the whole package - modern high-spec buses, well planned routes with good information, and a commitment to the overall quality of the customer experience that I've not seen almost anywhere else.
 
Last edited:

thomalex

Member
Joined
25 Aug 2021
Messages
23
Location
Leeds
Judging by this image I think the more permanent replacement signage when/if it eventually comes is going to be quite a bit larger.

1631969968166.png
 
Last edited:

Ianigsy

Member
Joined
12 May 2015
Messages
741
I'm sure they do. I suspect that will include travel time to the station.
I'd hope so seeing that Chathill was done quite early- it'd be a long wait for the train back otherwise!

I'm not a lover of corporate standardisation- probably comes from having first been interested in the railways in the 1970s and 1980s when everything (40106 apart) was monolithic Rail Blue and the original Rail Alphabet. What does surprise me is that the typeface being used isn't bold, although perhaps some sort of standard colour frame could be applied as a cue that this is a station sign as opposed to anything else.

Presumably at least some of the sponsored signs will have to stay for the duration of the sponsorship agreement.
 

the sniper

Established Member
Joined
4 Sep 2007
Messages
2,923
Which is probably a good thing.

Not sure where people have got this idea that they should be excited by the visual design of a station name board from.

I'm not sure how anybody can accept a design being being rolled out at reasonable expense that is so bland. There are enough examples from our railway's history, overseas and everywhere around us in modern society to demonstrate why a totally utilitarian approach to design is in nobody's interest.


All you've done is applied extremely short-lasting polish to a proverbial turd. If Heinz started licensing their brand to be put on Tesco Value mayonnaise, it doesn't magically make it better quality, and as soon as people realise this has happened, they'll stop buying it.

But people would still pay more for the Heinz branded item, even if they're exactly the same mayonnaise out of the same factory...
 
Last edited:

HarryL

Member
Joined
14 Sep 2020
Messages
166
Location
Leeds
Judging by this image I think the more permanent replacement signage when/if it eventually comes its going to be quite a bit larger.

View attachment 102789
That photo isn't how they'll look, I believe it comes from a station design document released prior to the new signage book.

Tell that to Ray Stenning.

Literally everything about the design of public facing rail infrastructure is about marketing. You want the passenger to feel good about the expensive ticket they purchased, not to feel ripped off by paying a premium and seeing something designed right down to a price.

Stenning is right that we need to be "creating desire" for public transport, and good looking branding is vital to that. I really wish he gets the brief for GBR, like London Midland he will do a superb job if he does, even if he is told he has to use RA2.
Not to turn this into a debate about Ray Stenning, but one can only hope he doesn't get the brief. I feel his liveries are getting very same-y and generic at the moment, could be switched out between any of the companies he has branded.

GBRs general branding is already being shown in terms of the re-drawn double arrows which will probably be the main focal point of the brand and obviously the new typeface too. The only things yet to be seen are whether they will sub-divide it into sectors like later BR or paint the trains in universal designs, none of it will affect the stations if they do as most of those guidelines are now in place by Network Rail.
 
Last edited:

F Great Eastern

Established Member
Joined
2 Apr 2009
Messages
3,386
Location
East Anglia
I tend to like simple designs when it comes to things like this but, boy, is that bland.

Simple is not bad, look at DB in Germany, but black on white like that is too simple.

It's not the 1960s anymore, although what with the Borismaster and now this, you could be fooled in thinking that.
 

Pete_uk

Member
Joined
28 Jan 2017
Messages
814
Location
Stroud, Glos
The sign up above needs to have the lettering a centimetre or two higher with a red stripe underneath, a white gap then blue. Maybe the red can become the double arrow logo. Then it will be displaying the 'GBR' brand.
 

DJ_K666

Member
Joined
5 May 2009
Messages
444
Location
Way too far north of 75A
Smart price toilet paper isn't functional though. The main reason people don't buy it is because your fingers go through it. People mostly buy brands like Andrex because they remember that as being one of the ones that wasn't awful. You could get rid of the puppy, the colouring the font of the brand-name and people would still buy it because it would still be the one that their fingers didn't go through.

Equally as a passenger, if I arrived at Edinburgh station and the station sign was the blandest in human history I would still get off there because that's where I live
For me, the train being the one to the station I'm going to is more important than any 'brand' Beyonf that I coulfn't really give a stuff. To me going on about brands is the stuff of suits in the marketing department so not somewhere I really want to poke my nose.
 

Deerfold

Veteran Member
Joined
26 Nov 2009
Messages
11,070
Location
Yorkshire
I agree that it should be bolder.

Don't forget the signs may get additional logo/stripes or brand recognition when GBR is actually launched.
Seems like someone is creating extra work, given that most of the stations that have been done had perfectly acceptable signage before these new ones were rolled out.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
71,978
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Seems like someone is creating extra work, given that most of the stations that have been done had perfectly acceptable signage before these new ones were rolled out.

A good many of them were looking very tatty indeed, e.g. the Cumbrian Coast had original Regional Railways signage with a TPE stripe stuck over the top and another strip stuck over that too.
 

takno

Established Member
Joined
9 Jul 2016
Messages
3,808
Seems like someone is creating extra work, given that most of the stations that have been done had perfectly acceptable signage before these new ones were rolled out.
They may have legal obligations to get rid of old signage by a particular date. Or alternatively it may have been observed that the signage was getting a bit dirty or worn off at a significant proportion of stations, and it was cheaper to run off a complete set of vinyls for Northern that to worry too much about which ones.

In essence, it seems to be being done as part of a standard exercise while somebody is up a ladder doing stuff with the signs anyway, so the cost is minimal and the aim may be more about hiding the old ones than some dramatic rebranding.
 

domcoop7

Member
Joined
15 Mar 2021
Messages
147
Location
Wigan
But do you really think people chose Virgin West coast because of the station signs ?. Was there an alternative train comapny with different station signs on the same route and on the same platofrms ?.

The alternatives are non rail. Do we need to spice up the road signs - no. How fancy are the signs at airports.
100%! And note, this isn't the customer facing branding of the rail network - it's the name of the station as seen from platforms for heaven's sake!

It's like saying nobody will fly from Manchester Airport - not because of the airport's logo - but because the signs saying "Terminal 3" aren't coloured enough.
 
Joined
9 Dec 2012
Messages
393
The 70s version of BR alphabet name boards was much bolder than the Regional Railways /NSE in that it took up most of the space on the sign. The only example I can find is this one of Broad Street where you can see the 2 different types (3rd picture down) Maybe this level of bold and size on RA2 would be better visually at least than what is being done


Credit Urban 75
 

Grumpy Git

Established Member
Joined
13 Oct 2019
Messages
1,653
Location
Earth (for now)
100%! And note, this isn't the customer facing branding of the rail network - it's the name of the station as seen from platforms for heaven's sake!

It's like saying nobody will fly from Manchester Airport - not because of the airport's logo - but because the signs saying "Terminal 3" aren't coloured enough.

Hallelujah
 

Inthewest

Member
Joined
12 Feb 2020
Messages
69
Location
The West
But do you really think people chose Virgin West coast because of the station signs ?
You're missing the point.

I should think some people still think Cross Country is operated by Virgin. That's the power of a brand.
A brand encompasses everything, which includes fancy station signage at stations. Yes, those here will see it as a waste of money and pointless but these same people are not in marketing and do not realise how, if you want someone to remember your brand and bolster it's position in the market (thinking outside of trains here), you must surround a person with that brand in everything.
Back in the early days, Virgin branded everything from magazines to pens stations used.

You could ask why Virgin Media bother to brand their engineer vans (albeit not many now), or why Eddie Stobart have their name plastered down the side of trucks... advertising yes, but it's about getting your name out there so you recognise it and come to feel comfort in it and eventually trust the brand. That is what marketing is about

People didn't "choose Virgin West Coast because of the station signs" but having branded station signs certainly reinforced you were in the company of Virgin Trains.
 

the sniper

Established Member
Joined
4 Sep 2007
Messages
2,923
It's like saying nobody will fly from Manchester Airport - not because of the airport's logo - but because the signs saying "Terminal 3" aren't coloured enough.

I'm sure Manchester Airport's signage is just as bare bones and utilitarian... Oh, no it isn't.

I imagine some of the purists here will be disgusted by the unnecessary flair put into the design of the likes of the Crossrail stations and LU extension... if there's an accessible platform and a train, what does it matter what it looks like! :rolleyes:
 
Last edited:

GoneSouth

Member
Joined
17 Dec 2018
Messages
325
Be interested to see what happens in West Yorkshire, WYPTE would indeed have insisted on it! It’s cos of WYPTE , for example , that 155 still exist!
Ah the 155s… they should give you free earplugs as you board to cut down the noise (not just the 155, the 150 too).

Anyway, they probably should insist on it if there’s a good reason to do so. I believe they still have regional tickets that are valid on the WYPTE network? Do they need to mark that METRO tickets are valid at the station on the station destination board/totem itself though or somewhere else?

Incidentally METRO or the WYPTE has a very mixed bag of branding over the years. The red and cream 158s looked absolutely fantastic with their big metro logo in the side… the later rebrand of the 144s with their red and silver curves was just horrible (but I suppose the old saying about polishing a turd may apply here)

Can somebody advise from a scientific point of view please what the most highly visible combination of colours for signage are. I suspect it will be yellow on black which I’d be more than happy to see adopted, especially with a good solid font and not the rather wirey looking version being shown in examples on here. In my opinion thin black text on white background is going to be difficult for some to read and should be made bold.
 

domcoop7

Member
Joined
15 Mar 2021
Messages
147
Location
Wigan
I'm sure Manchester Airport's signage is just as bare bones and utilitarian... Oh, no it isn't.

I imagine some of the purists here will be disgusted by the unnecessary flair put into the design of the likes of the Crossrail stations and LU extension... if there's an accessible platform and a train, what does it matter what it looks like! :rolleyes:
Well they have colours, I'll give you that. But it looks about as bare bones and utilitarian as you can get. There's not even a consistent style between different buildings in the same airport, obviously at random points in time somebody's thought "should we have a sign here"? and the manager has said "yes - knock it up in Microsoft Powerpoint and we'll get it made".

But here are the signs telling you what terminal you are in at Manchester Airport.

Terminal 1:- a white sign with green background stuck to the outside of a multi-storey car park. Helvetica Bold I think.
Screenshot from 2021-09-22 00-05-12.png

Terminal 2:- there is no sign at all. You'd only know because you followed the road sign. The nearest they have is an indication of which door to use to get to specific airlines. Again stuck to the side of a lift for a car park. In yellow on black.

Screenshot from 2021-09-22 00-07-06.png
Terminal 3:- Blue vinyl outline letters on the glass of part of the terminal building. Again Helvetica I think, but a different weight to the other signs, in navy blue with no background.

Screenshot from 2021-09-22 00-03-57.png
 

the sniper

Established Member
Joined
4 Sep 2007
Messages
2,923
Well they have colours, I'll give you that. But it looks about as bare bones and utilitarian as you can get. There's not even a consistent style between different buildings in the same airport, obviously at random points in time somebody's thought "should we have a sign here"? and the manager has said "yes - knock it up in Microsoft Powerpoint and we'll get it made".

At least it's not plain/boring... :lol: I was more talking about the interior signage.
 

Top