The British Steel brand, which was in use until it became part of Corus Group in 1999, could be revived after the name was bought by a private equity firm.
The British Steel identity was designed by David Gentleman and was used from 1969 until the brand’s demise in 1999.
Rights to the British Steel name have been bought this week by Greybull Capital, which has also acquired Tata Steel’s European long products division.
According to the Financial Times, Greybull Capital managing partner Marc Meyohas says British Steel is a “brand with incredible heritage”, adding, “We believe we will do justice to that heritage.”
However, a spokesman for Greybull Capital says that no decision has yet been taken on whether either the David Gentleman identity or the British Steel name would be used.
According to logo design book TM, written by Creative Review’s Mark Sinclair, Gentleman was approached to design the logo for the then newly nationalised British Steel by his neighbour Will Camp, who was the organisation’s director of information services.
Gentleman said of his logo: “I wanted to do a monochrome symbol that would work with type and in a wide variety of circumstances… and it had to be simple and economical.”
He says the identity started off as a variant on the letters B and S and was intended to reference rolling presses in the steel-making process.
It was only after he had designed the logo that Gentleman became aware of steel “strips” that were used in the steel-making process to show how the metal performed under stress.
He said: “When bent double, the best steel wouldn’t crack”. As Sinclair writes: “[Gentleman’s] S shape mirrored this perfectly.”