On the whole, standards manuals tend to be dull, uninviting and littered with technical jargon, making them inaccessible to the majority of the people they are aimed at. This is exactly what London Underground wanted to avoid when it commissioned Carter Wong to design a colour standards manual for its hardware and interiors – or more accurately, its built environment.
‘There are a lot of different people who may be involved in how a Tube station is revamped,’ says Carter Wong’s marketing director Deborah Blott. ‘You have your station manager, who isn’t colour- trained, right through to architects who work with colour a lot.
‘One of our prime tasks was to produce a document which would enable a station manager to access the guidelines, without talking down to the architect,’ says Blott. So the manual had to be accessible and exciting, but at the same time communicate the importance of adhering to LU’s specified colour palette.
The resulting manual is ‘attractive and informative’, says Christopher Nell, Carter Wong’s client and formerly environment manager at LU. Nell, who now occupies the same post at London Transport, says the manual was heavily researched and is the first of its kind on colour being used by LU.
The manual, which follows on from a Henrion Ludlow Schmidt-designed document for identity and literature issued two years ago, is being given out to appropriate LU staff this week.