Fitch readies TfL brand for relaunch

Transport for London has revamped the identities for its public transport systems, which have been designed by Fitch London, Design Week can exclusively reveal.

The identities – for the Underground, buses, Docklands Light Railway, trams, private hire taxis, coach stations, streets and the river Thames – will be revealed ‘in the summer’ and could be launched by the end of this month.

TfL refuses to confirm or deny any aspect of the rebranding work, but Fitch London has confirmed its involvement in the project.

‘I can confirm Fitch London is working for Transport for London on its whole brand and the application of that branding. The work will launch in the summer,’ says a Fitch London spokeswoman.

TfL has been using a white roundel against a coloured background with no descriptor for its public transport systems. It will change to coloured roundels that carry a descriptor – for example, ‘trams’ – with no background.

An updated version of New Johnston, the typeface for public transport in London for many years, has been developed and will be used in the branding, a decision that could end up costing the authority millions of pounds if it updates its signage across the entire capital.

The new operational identities were given final approval in April and the launch of the branding will happen in phases, according to a Transport for London internal newsletter.

Former Transport for London head of design Christopher Nell believes the new branding doesn’t work.

‘It doesn’t work in print or in a street environment. If [TfL] is reliant on the public being able to read the descriptor, rather than recognising it by a colour, then its not going to work. Timetables, for example, require the wording to be minuscule,’ he says.

‘Why they have changed the typeface is a mystery. It raises the question about all the signage across the network. That could cost millions to re-do,’ he adds.

Fitch London was appointed to the project in November last year following a three-way pitch.

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