British Steel (1967—1999) - Yesterday's Brands, Today

British Steel (1967—1999)

Yesterday’s Brands, Today: Part four of four

As the final brand to get a makeover in our quintet of company logos past, we’ve saved the most iconic of all five until last: British Steel. Serving as the primary steel producer in the United Kingdom for most of its lifetime, the once-nationalised organisation was eventually privatised, and was so big that it even featured as a member of the FTSE 100 Index.

Sadly, the company didn’t last – and if you’ve read any UK manufacturing news over the last few months, you’ll know that the steel industry as a whole is sadly becoming a distant memory.

Some memories are, however, firmly ingrained in the minds of thousands – and the iconic British Steel logo is no exception. So, just how much of a rebrand does this need if it was back with us tomorrow?


British Steel’s timeless identity was conceived by David Gentleman in 1969, and was not changed once throughout its entire existence until its eventual merger in 1999. The so-called “steel symbol” represented two bent steel bars interlocking; the bending process is a well-used technique to test the strength of steel.


The sheer simplicity of the British Steel logo means that 46 years on, it still works; it’s a timeless emblem that doesn’t need to be improved upon. However, our designer believed it could certainly be adapted for the digital age, for assets such as the company’s website and apps.


A new typeface has been introduced by our designer to help reflect the logo’s soft inner circles and straight-edged steel beams. The font Circular Standard Bold is slightly lighter in weight than the original, chunky Nimbus Sans Black typeface, and feels more modern when compared to the original.


The original blue of old is still the core colour used throughout this rebrand, but a darker blue akin to that of the Union Flag has been added, helping to add more heritage and class to this already classic brand. The greys are used when blue cannot be, and these represent the all-too-recognisable hues of the steel industry.


The new logo follows the original’s rules of never splitting the name ‘British Steel’ over multiple lines. The steel symbol is kept to the height of our new circular typeface, and the logo can be used with or without this.


Did our designer play the British Steel rebrand a little too safely, or should we have let it be entirely? Tell us your thoughts here, or via Twitter and Facebook!

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