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Azuma 801228 'Century' - Celebrating 100 years of LNER

Developing a house style

Named trains are a railway tradition, and so when LNER began the operation of their new Azuma fleet, it was only natural they would want that to continue - but they couldn't use old-style metal nameplates - so they reached out to Sam Jessup Design and the rest, as they say, is history.

Celebrating a century

LNER's launch of 'named' trains was around the 100th anniversary of the brand - the train was to be named 'Century' - I was given a blank canvas to create something that, whilst new and bold, celebrated LNER's past, looked to the future and worked within the tight confines of LNER's guidelines too.

Bringing the railway's famous past, to the railway's diverse present

100 years. That's a long time for any brand. And even longer for a railway brand having its well-deserved renaissance. 

But with a brand new fleet of Azuma trains, and a century of service to celebrate, how could you put the two together and create something iconic? Introducing Century’, designed by Sam Jessup Design and celebrating LNER’s people and pioneering approach since the brand first came into being in 1923. 

‘Century’ was the name chosen by LNER colleagues and a special train naming panel, reflecting the sentiment of the pride in LNER’s rich past, its passion for the present and the ambition LNER has for the future - and my challenge was to create a design which reflected that in every way.

Thanks to in-depth research in the National Railway Museum archives, and images submitted from LNER themselves, the design took shape. Solving the problem of not using nameplates was easy - using the LNER 'bodyside band' was the answer - wrapping the images inside the train name, as a timeline, from the glory days of steam, right through to modern Azuma style. Featuring past and present LNER staff didn't go amiss either, as they embraced their role in this celebratory train; plus different images on either side of the train, a treat from whichever angle you look.

The finishing touch? A stripe of gold, right down the whole length of the train - replacing the Azuma's traditional silver. Well, 100 years, it had to be gold!

The overall 'naming' style developed for 'Century' has become the defacto for all LNER named trains, as you'll see below...

Azuma 800106 'You Belong' - In partnership with CALM

Mental health matters

When LNER wanted to mark a milestone of five-years in partnership with suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), they turned once again to Sam Jessup Design to create something memorable, and moving.

CALM and colourful

CALM's brand is a bold and brilliant one, and the juxtaposition of greens and purple against LNER's iconic red, allowed the design to be different, dynamic and distinct - when 'You Belong' rolls into a station, you're not going to miss it!

You belong to me, you, and everyone

LNER and CALM collaborated, in mid-2023, to launch a newly liveried train, named ‘You Belong’ - the name chosen as creating a sense of belonging is a key part of protecting everyone across the UK against suicide. CALM is there for anyone who's struggling with life, providing life-saving services 365 days a year to ensure no-one ever feels like there's nowhere to turn - a truly worthwhile cause, which demanded a truly unforgettable design.

CALM's brand used a combination of hard angles and bold colourways to create impact and influence, and although this could potential jar against LNER's fixed and formal Azuma style, my design bought the two together in absolute harmony.

One side of the train features CALM's passionate purple (with the other side draped in gracious green) in flashes of colour leading up or and down to the famed LNER logo, with the brand lockup and 'united against suicide' tagline dropping below the silver bodyside stripe. Another LNER train design which, thanks to the efforts of Sam Jessup Design, has become an iconic part of the brand's fleet, and helps spread a life-saving mental health message across the East Coast Main Line route, from London to Edinburgh and beyond.

Impressed with what you see? Get in touch!

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