The British Steel logo designed by David Gentleman—abandoned in 1999—is one of those rare logo designs that truly stands the test of time. It still looks good now even amongst a swarm of similarly styled monoline designs.
What’s extraordinary is that David Gentlemen—what a great name—is not strictly a logo designer. His impressive career spans nearly six decades, and his more notable work includes illustration, stamp design, wood engraving, book and poster design. When the British Steel logo project turned up on David’s doorstep—after the main agency had their work turned down—he was under a strict time handicap when he sketched the initial idea for the British Steel logo: two sheets of folded steel.
You can read more over on Eye Magazine- David Gentleman talks about his identity design for British Steel
I’ll wrap it up there as there really isn’t much else to show in terms of the British Steel logo applied in use: almost like it’s been wiped from memory. There are the odd references to this Eye Magazine article, but that’s about it. There are not many examples of the logo that can be found online save for same few images doing the rounds. Interestly it would seem that Eye Magazine possible have more British Steel photographs via their Flickr account, but they are set to Private.
But there is one paragraph from an article that Eye Magazine published that took my fancy which describes the British Steel logo as a…
“Gentleman’s A size proportioned logotype, which can be replicated on site using a ruler and a set of compasses.”
Utterly stupendous. Now to find me a copy of the British Steel identity manual.
Is it just me or does the British Steel logo look totally out of place on these lorries—I do, however, just love the British Steel blue; trying to search down an actual colour reference for it.
I can’t help but have this sense that the logo was ahead of it’s time when viewed with hindsight. It’s as though one expects the lorry to be a super streamlined beast rather than one that might be delivery the morning milk. This is by no means a negative slur on the logo as I could never ever find any reason to, but it just seems like a design you would expect to see in use now rather than decades ago.
The British Steel logo much like the NASA logo, or even the CN logo are all timeless and modern worthy classics that share this monoline style of logotype design.
If you have a particularly belated sadness about the passing of the British Steel logo then you can leave your thoughts, prayers and condolonces over at LogoRIP.
Maybe light a candle as well.