Monday, September 15, 2014

Danish railway company DSB rolls out hexagonal logo

DSB is Denmark's leading railway company, charged with operating most trains in Denmark, including passenger, commuter and cargo trains. It has its origins in Danske Statsbaner ("Danish State Railways"), the old railway monopoly. Last week, on September 11, the company rolled out a new logo across the country.

The new logo is combination of the hexagon shape used by the S-tog train service around Copenhagen with a revised version of DSB's existing lettering. This has the advantage of integrating name and symbol into one element. It also marks a more united DSB as several sub-brands will be scrapped with its introduction. A press release says it shall support DSB's process of focus on its core business and "tell the story of simplicity, trust and reliability as the foundation of DSB's way to create cohesion in public transport in Denmark".

The logo was designed by Bo Linnemann of Kontrapunkt, working with DSB Kommunikation & Branding. Kontrapunkt were also behind the previous logo that featured a stylised image of a winged wheel, as well as much of the rest of DSB's identity programme including typography and wayfinding graphics.

Previous logo.

S-tog logo.

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The sign above appears to be the only image released so far. It appears everything else will remain unchanged for now. It is not uncommon when it comes to identity programmes that are highly visible with lots of information graphics to roll out other elements before switching the logo.

A brief history of DSB's corporate identity:

Up until the early 70s, DSB used a quaint-but-proud whinged wheel with a Royal crown as its symbol.

The 70s logo.

In the 1970s, DSB introduced a very modernist identity programme, created by among other Niels Hartmann and Jens Nielsen. It gave up the winged wheel for the initials in either red or white. The logo used a version of the "Rail Alphabet" designed for British Railways.

In the late 90s, the railways where about to be deregulated and DSB needed to shed its monopoly image. As mentioned, the company contracted Kontrapunkt who brought back the winged wheel in a more agile, swoosh-like form. It occasionally featured a Royal crown, but that element was removed over time.

The 90s logo.

DSB (archive)

1 comment:

  1. Weak logo. The letters do not create a unity, and the visual relation between the round edged hexagonal and the letters is missing. The hexogonal shape is very static. All in all a logo that signals a company with no drive, no vision, no development. It is sad.