station signing

station signing
  • Totem signs
  • Platform station signs
  • Corporate signing
  • Sponsor acknowledgement
  • Heritage signing

No-one notices a good signing system. Everyone notices a bad one. It is like a treasure hunt without a prize. We cannot afford to have ‘pretty good’ sign systems. They must be infallible. Travellers in general and commuters in particular are short of time. The slightest flaw in the sign system becomes a major source of irritation to someone who is in a hurry. If, as a result of a flaw in the system, they miss their train, we may well lose their custom in future. We can’t afford to do that.

Signing cannot, by itself, provide the unambiguous guidance system for users of our stations. It must be used in support of well thought out routes and design and location of facilities.

Test your system. Make sure your signs are in exactly the right position. Make sure that someone coming to your station for first time can move without a hitch, as if following a dotted line, straight from the nearest road junction to the train. Even if it works for someone of 6’6″ it may not work for someone of 4’6″. Keep it simple. Get it right for everybody.

All Regional Railways stations will be ‘flagged’ in a unique and distinctive way: the fleximark will appear within a dark blue band on the platform station name and information structure. The fleximark makes its appearance to reinforce the fact that this is indeed a station run by Regional Railways. The PTE symbol will appear on totems and platform station names signs at every station supported by a Passenger Transport Executive, to acknowledge their contribution. And we shall continue to use the tried, tested and unsurpassed Rail Alphabet lettering in black on a white background.

We have developed an additional sign system with a quite separate role. This is known as heritage signing and is used exclusively to point out particular features during journeys along and around the line. It is often associated with specifically designed routes such as the Settle to Carlisle line. These routes are marketed (and new ones may be marketed in future) on the strength of their intrinsic historic interest or the quality of the landscape. Heritage signing provides interesting but non-essential information, which is why it is designed to be distinct from corporate signing.

We don’t have ‘Welcome to….’ signs on Regional Railways. Customers feel welcome in any case when they find themselves in a station that is well lit. has attractive and well-maintained paintwork, good facilities, an excellent signing system and, above all, helpful staff. The public address system – effectively part of of the signing system – is an excellent means of welcoming customers directly and thanking them for travelling with us.

Signing policy – a brief summary

Signing policy – a brief summary

Corporate signing

We have found no way to improve upon black Rail Alphabet on white for all corporate signing applications.

The Regional Railways dark blue branding strip and fleximark is positioned along the lower edge of platform station name signs and information header panels to denote the operator of that station. In Scotland the ScotRail logotype is positioned within the branding strip, to the left of the fleximark.

When refurbishing non-sponsored stations all the signing should be replaced with the new design. New stations will automatically have the new signing. There will be no ‘mix’n’match’ signing, if a single platform station name sign has to be replaced then it must match the others at that individual station.

Sponsored stations

Regional Railways wishes to acknowledge the financial support of PTEs and other major sponsors such as County or Regional Councils on appropriate station signing. This is achieved by the addition of the sponsor’s symbol below the BR symbol on totems, and within a dedicated space to the left of the station name on platform signs. Existing visual solutions will stand until both parties agree to change.

Approval for the addition of County or Regional Council or other major sponsors’ marks must be obtained through the Director, Planning & Marketing and the visual solution progressed through the Identity Working Group on Stations.


Where financial support is received from other contributors we acknowledge that support by means of a specially designed plaque. This plaque is intended to recognise a significant financial contribution and the endorsement of a quality product. Approval for their use must be obtained from the profit centre Marketing Manager.

Negotiation document

This document has been circulated to all managers who negotiate sponsorship agreements with PTEs, County or Regional Councils and other contributors. It clearly illustrates what is and what is not negotiable for sponsorship acknowledgement on station signing. Contact the Identity Manager for details.

Heritage signing

Heritage signing draws attention to significant features (eg summits, viaducts, tunnels, bridges) along and around the line. Its purpose is thus very different from on-station signing and this difference is highlighted by the design; white Joanna lettering on a dark blue background with the fleximark featuring to the left of the main wording. Regional Railways or ScotRail branding only appears on more detailed location signs.

Please note that any valuable or historic signs may be restored where possible but in all cases each application of heritage signing must be approved by the profit centre Marketing Manager.

Line images

Certain lines, such as the Settle-Carlisle Line, have the potential to be promoted as a product in their own right as well as being a means for moving passengers from A to B. The approved line image graphic device may appear on heritage signing in place of the fleximark and the colour scheme of the sign changes to cream Joanna lettering on the specific line image colour background.

The line image may also be used on appropriate local information header panels, promotional print and gifts. It will not be used on corporate signing or rolling stock.

Approval for a proposed line image must be obtained from the Director, Planning & Marketing, before the design solution is progressed through the Identity Working Group on Print.


The Contacts pages at the back of this brochure give details of who to contact to obtain signing. Signing policy is monitored by the Identity Working Group on Stations. Details of Regional Railways branded signing can be found in the Identity Management binder.

Inverurie on ScotRail

Communication policy for promotion – a brief summary

Signing policy – a brief summary


Joanna, the typeface chosen for promotional material, has researched well, being seen as friendly but legible. A full list of the approved Joanna typefaces is available in the Identity Management binder.

Promotional literature

For promotional literature a consistent style is an advantage as a little of the excellence of one offer may easily rub off onto another, as long as each of them is recognisably part of the whole. The message that we want to give to our customers is that Regional Railways consistently brings quality offers to their attention. All Regional Railways and ScotRail promotional literature must therefore conform to the house style.

Our grid is based on a strong left hand margin from which all text, illustrations and branding are ranged. All text on the cover must be in an approved Joanna typeface and there are strict guidelines covering the appearance and positioning of the logotypes and fleximark. Bright background colours are preferred so that the public can more easily distinguish promotional from informational print.

Promotional posters

All of the above principles apply equally to posters with one additional option. For exceptional cases the grid for posters allows for a ‘full bleed’ option (ie the picture covers the entire sheet) where photographic subject matter requires this treatment.

Full guidelines for the production of promotional print can be found in the Identity Management binder.

Sponsor recognition

Where appropriate Regional Railways wishes to acknowledge the financial support of PTEs and other major sponsors on print. This is achieved by the addition of the sponsor’s symbol and/or logotype in a specific area at the bottom of the print item.

PTEs automatically have agreement in principle to appear on certain Regional Railways print items (promotional leaflets and posters, timetables, departure sheets, maps). We realise that many PTEs already have their
own print style and existing visual solutions will stand until both parties agree to change.

Other major sponsor marks may only be applied after the principle has been approved by the Director, Marketing & Planning, via the Regional Railways Marketing Team.

Any other contributors, and multiple sponsors, should be acknowledged within the text, preferably on the inside pages or back cover when appearing on leaflets.

Line images

If an approved line image is to be promoted, the ‘woodcut’ style illustration will take the place of the fleximark and the name of the line (eg Settle-Carlisle Line) must always appear in the title on both literature and posters. An appropriate dark colour is selected as an integral part of the line image and this should be used, where possible, as the background colour.

National campaigns

Where a device or symbol has been created to denote a national campaign, such as Rail Rovers, it may be used in place of the fleximark on the relevant promotional posters and leaflets following ratification from the Identity Working Group on Print.

It will follow the same principles as for line images.

Special promotions

Occasionally there will be special one-off promotions which require the use of the fleximark in a creative way, such as on banners for special events. It is vital that the fleximark and Regional Railways or ScotRail logotype is used correctly. Please contact the Identity Manager for help, advice and approval.

Working group

The Identity Working Group on Print meets regularly to assess, approve and review the application of identity on print, ratify the use of national campaign devices and approve the design for line images. A list of the current members can be found in the Contacts pages at the back of this brochure.