The rail industry has launched a green version of the classic British Rail logo to promote rail’s environmental benefits, but the original logo’s designer has sharply criticised the new version.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said it had given the logo a ‘green makeover’ as part of a campaign –– to encourage more people and businesses to choose greener trains over congested roads On World Car Free Day.
The ‘We Mean Green’ campaign was launched on Wednesday (22 September), which has been declared World Car Free Day.
RDG director general Andy Bagnall said: ‘By choosing to travel or transport goods by rail, people and businesses are on track to cut their carbon footprint so that together we achieve the net zero target. While rail accounts for 10% of journeys, it is responsible for just 1% of transport emissions.’
Rebecca Cole, director at Studio Blackburn, the design studio behind the green logo, said: ‘The iconic double arrow logo designed in 1965 by Gerry Barney was at that time commissioned to breathe new life into railway industry. Its use today as the centrepiece of this campaign – depicted in a variety of green shades – signifies the importance of a modal shift to greener travel.’
However, the Guardian reported that the RDG had wanted Mr Barney to endorse the makeover and even prepared a supportive quote for him to put in his name, but when shown the recoloured version ‘he was appalled’.
‘I think that’s rubbish,’ he told the paper. ‘I could understand it if they had just swapped red for green. But why on earth have they got that many colours? It’s a load of old bollocks. It’s just a mess.’
Friends of the Earth transport campaigner Jenny Bates backed the campaign to promote the environmental benefits of rail. She said: ‘Whether it’s personal travel or moving freight around, rail is preferable to flying or driving. Particularly with personal travel taking the train needs to be cheaper, or as cheap, as domestic or short haul flights.
‘This means carbon-guzzling air travel needs to be taxed properly - and the cost of travelling by rail versus the cost of motoring also needs to be redressed.’
This week TfL launched a new version of its tube map, also regarded as a design classic, to coincide with the opening of the Northern Line extension to the Battersea Power Station, another legendary design that has undergone a significant revamp.