A Dockside Bollard
Ben John and Ed Stone's 1965 logo for British Transport Docks Board
The Transport Act was implemented in Great Britain in the early 1960s to re-organise the nationalised transport system. This triggered the dissolution of the British Transport Commission whose assets would then be allocated to five ‘successor bodies’. One of these would be the British Transport Docks Board (BTDB), which would oversee the management of former railway-owned docks throughout the country. On its formation, the board had no established design policy. And a report by Planned Public Relations Ltd in 1964 stated that BTDB was in need of a recognisable, unique and future-facing corporate identity that would help distinguish it from other transport corporations such as British Rail, whose groundbreaking corporate identity, nearly nine years in the making, was about to launch.
A team of designers from the London-based studio Unit Five Design were invited to research the project, report its findings and develop a new image. The report delivered by Unit Five Design revealed that, owing to the decentralised nature of the organisation and lack of a formal design policy, there had been nothing to link the various assets together visually, with outdated, disorganised and inconsistent stationery, for example. Furthermore, signage and liveries were confused, confusing and lacked standardisation.
BTDB Public relations officer John Crisford (formerly of Planned Public Relations Ltd) explained that the overall corporate identity had three key objectives:
1. To present to the political and business worlds a picture of a well-organised multiport authority, standing on its own feet and making a profit.
2. To get more trade to flow through the ports
3. To knit together a widely dispersed, decentralised organisation and imbue it with a sense of corporate Pride.”