The designer and artist David Gentleman discussed his admiration for the artisanal marks made by craftsmen, printers and publishers in his book Artwork. These symbols, he writes, were emblems of industry that grew out of the workplace, unlike the fanciful winged lions and unicorns of heraldic imagery, which nevertheless still appealed to many British businesses and corporations in the middle of the twentieth century.
Gentleman was asked to design a symbol for Britain’s newly nationalized steel industry in 1969. As a supporter of the nationalization policy Gentleman was, he says, ‘pleased to do it in the first place’, and his belief in the process gave the job ‘an extra spur’. At the time, British Steel’s director ...