British Steel is back – could its iconic David Gentleman logo also return?

The British Steel name has been acquired by Greybull Capital and could be brought back in to use for the first time since 1999.


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.”

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    • Tim Masters April 13, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Chris, I think you’ve highlighted one of the problems with modern design. The original British Steel logo was, clearly, original (and beautifully simple) but with the burgeoning number of new businesses and the corresponding number of people offering design, it’s inevitable that great ogos will be replicated (knowingly or not).

  • emma overeem April 13, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    It’s a design classic. It’s the original..why change it?

    British Rail logo ring any bells for icons that stand the test of time? What could possibly go wrong redesigning it for the sake of it… oh that’s right, someone spending an insane amount of money to produce a “new logo” that’s bursting in inflated “strategy” but at the end of the day doesn’t improve on the original. Going out on a limb here, but I do believe British Steel has more pressing concerns right now…?!

    Leave it alone, it’s perfect!! It’s infuriating to think about changing a design classic because some numpties have ripped it off < they are the problem, not the original logo!! Rant over.

  • anon steel employee May 27, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Nope it won’t be coming back as
    British Steel is arising from the Long Products part of the business
    The logo has use within the Strip business ( I believe its still used to help ID products in the field )

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