Designing the Elizabeth Line: Modern branding and design ushers in a new age for TfL Just in time to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee marking 70 years of service, the Crossrail Elizabeth Line is now officially open. Designed to make London a more connected city,…
Designing the Elizabeth Line: Modern branding and design ushers in a new age for TfL
Just in time to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee marking 70 years of service, the Crossrail Elizabeth Line is now officially open.
Designed to make London a more connected city, The Elizabeth Line has been decades in the making. This new Crossrail railway line runs through the heart of London – from Reading and Heathrow through to Abbey Wood in the east – and boasts faster journey times and more frequent and reliable services. The Elizabeth Line is a major investment in London’s future; it will help boost the city’s economy by creating new jobs and business opportunities, as well as transform the way people travel around the city.
The Elizabeth Line is a feat of design and engineering in every way, from the ultra-comfortable energy-efficient train carriages to the modern architecture of the stations and platforms. Let’s take a look at some of the Elizabeth Line design features that make it a modern masterpiece:
Elizabeth Line branding
Few brands are as iconic as the Transport for London roundel logo marque, which is a globally recognised symbol for the historic London Underground. Known originally as “the bar and circle”, the TfL roundel dates back to 1908 when it was featured on the platform signage at the station now known as St James’s Park. The striking icon was designed to stand out from the dozens of adverts and billboards that surrounded the entrance to the station and decorated the walls of the platforms, and quickly became adopted as the official Transport for London logo.
The Elizabeth Line features a modern reimagining of this historic logo marque, informed by time-honoured brand guidelines that have firmly linked TfL services and subsidiaries for over a decade. The primary colour palette is TfL Blue, White, and “Elizabeth Line Purple” – a Pantone 266c shade synonymous with royalty and luxury. The regal coloured roundel is adorned with the name “Elizabeth Line” in the iconic Johnston100 Monotype typeface. Only twice has this iconic font been updated in the past 100 years, most recently to incorporate modern symbols used in our digital age.
The Elizabeth Line is now featured on the official London Tube map, appearing as a double purple line to distinguish it as a railway route rather than a London Underground service. The London Transport Museum has also created a new range of Elizabeth Line branded merchandise to coincide with the launch of the route and Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. Everything from socks, bags and scarves to furniture and home décor is available for tourists, collectors, and enthusiasts to buy – all featuring the Elizabeth Line logo or the custom-designed moquette pattern of train carriage seating.
Elizabeth Line train design
Seventy new, bespoke designed trains run on the Elizabeth Line, featuring futuristic walk-through carriages designed and built by Bombardier Transportation. As well as being more energy-efficient, the Elizabeth Line trains are designed to provide a more comfortable user experience, with temperature and lighting control, air conditioning, a variety of accessible spaces, and more doors in every carriage for an easy exit.
The comfortable seating is decorated in a new moquette pattern that reflects the Elizabeth Line branding and colour palette. Designed by Wallace Sewell, the arrangement champions the Elizabeth Line purple, combining it with complementary lighter shades that feel fresh and soft, and accenting it with flashes of TfL “Corporate Red” to connect it with the wider network branding and its heritage.
Station and concourse design for the Elizabeth Line
The Elizabeth Line will service a total of 41 stations, many of which have been redesigned and refurbished in recent years to coincide with the launch. The route also features 10 new stations constructed exclusively to connect additional locations to the Elizabeth Line. Above ground, these stations have been designed by a collection of acclaimed architects, with schemes that draw inspiration from the local surroundings.
Below ground, the Elizabeth Line platforms and concourses look worlds away from the traditionally tiled wartime feel of many of London’s historic underground stations. Designed with comfort, safety and accessibility in mind, the futureproof styling features curved white cladding made from reinforced fibreglass for a light and bright feel. Broader and larger than the narrow tunnels of old, the platforms and walkways on the Elizabeth Line feature wide, sloping corners for improved visibility and enhanced security.
As well as robust and practical architecture, TfL has commissioned a selection of celebrated artists to create bespoke installations to celebrate the launch of the Elizabeth Line. Working closely with architects and engineers, these creatives have designed contemporary pieces to celebrate the local heritage.
Accessible and inclusive design
From the branding to the boarding, everything about the Elizabeth Line has been designed with accessibility and inclusivity in mind. Existing stations have been fitted with lifts, ramps, and improved signage, and the ten new stations feature a completely step-free design from the platform to the street. Clear, free-standing Elizabeth Line branded signage and updated London Underground maps give clear directions to help passengers navigate platforms. And outside and around the stations, the addition of new crossing, stopping, and drop-off points improve safety and make the route accessible to all.
We may have had to wait some time for the Elizabeth Line, but it is an incredible addition to the London transport network. It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into every aspect of the design – from the trains themselves to the stations and signage. Everything detail has been considered and embodies their vision for the future of London Transport. Welcome to the new era of travel!
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