British Rail Corporate Identity Manual

British Rail Corporate Identity Manual

Feb17 Henning Hand medThe reproduction of the British Rail Manual has received considerable coverage over recent months. So the Sign Design Society is very pleased to welcome the man behind the project – Wallace Henning – to talk about this labour of love.

Leaves on the lines, the wrong kind of snow and stale sandwiches never really helped British Rail become a brand that was truly loved by the nation. Yet, in 2011 the readers of Creative Review voted British Rail’s ‘double arrow’ as their sixth favourite logo. In 2015, graphic designer Wallace Henning launched a Kickstarter project to fund a high spec reproduction of the original British Rail Manual. The Manual showcases and celebrates the British Rail corporate identity – not just its distinctive symbol but the full graphic design programme: from detailed specimens of the famous Rail Alphabet typeface, to the livery of the Inter-City 125.

With a short overview of British Rail’s identity, and further examples of their signing systems, Wallace will explore the ins and outs of the process involved in producing the book.

Wallace was initially introduced to the manual through reading an article by graphic designer Michael C Place, in the 2006 publication ‘Reading List 2’ by Spin. After learning more about the Manual, he dedicated his MA in Communication Design to the creation of an identity for a renationalised transport network. He created a British Rail Flickr [] collection (collated from the extensive collection of British Rail ephemera that formed part of his research). The number of hits his Flickr account received was evidence of substantial interest in the Manual – encouraging Wallace to launch a crowdfunding project through Kickstarter [] to make the Manual readily available to the public.


Wallace Henning is the creator of the reproduction of the British Rail Corporate Identity Manual. He currently works as a designer at design studio Koto, who build brands across platforms both digital and physical. He previously worked as a designer at Transport Design Consultancy.


Date: 9th February 2017

Time: 6.30 pm

Venue: Gensler, Aldgate House, 33 Aldgate High Street, London, EC3N 1AH

Price: This talk is free to members and £25 to non-members. If you are attending an SDS talk for the first time, we are offering a 'taster fee' of £10 payable on the door. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register.

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