That crass and overly commercial cycle hire logo

Today's sponsorship deal gives Barclays naming rights over the scheme
How utterly hideous is the TfL Roundel for the London Cycle Hire scheme or, as we’re now meant to refer to it, the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme?

I’m sure we’re all very grateful to the shareholders of Barclays for spending some of their marketing budget on slapping their logo all over the bikes and uniforms of staff but frankly this new roundel (pictured) brings crass commercialism crashing down to whole new levels of bad and for that we have to blame Team Boris.

The scheme’s roundel has changed from the light green shown here to very Barclays blue which on first glance is confusingly similar to the shade used for river services – I’m waiting to see if TfL will confirm the exact colours used for each (TfL have since assured me the two roundels are very different colours).

Allowing the roundel – a true icon of London – to be absorbed into a glorified advert like this is pretty crass. Sadly, in order to show you how bad it is I need to display it on the site otherwise it wouldn’t get screen space.

Until now TfL have always jealously (and rightly) guarded the image, their style guide warns that the roundel “must not be re-drawn, distorted or modified in any way. It must not be placed on a background that impairs legibility” and speaks of the need to “maintain consistency and to preserve the integrity of the identity.”

It’s difficult to see how this specimen complies with TfL’s own rules, still I guess when they’re your rules it’s fairly simple to ignore them and who cares about design integrity these days anyway?

Not only does the naming rights deal seem to extend to using a Barclays’ corporate colour scheme for the TfL Roundel, but according to the ‘notes for editors’ in the press release the bank’s name is to appear as part of the official website URLs:

“For more information about Barclays Cycle Hire, and to register your interest in the scheme, visit For more information about Barclays Cycle Superhighways, visit”

Apart from the fact that the insertion of ‘Barclays’ makes the URLs unnecessarily long, it can’t be right that Londoners should be roped in to some form of subliminal advertising scheme where they’re required to type the name of a bank – or any other commercial entity – into their web browser simply to find out about a public service they may be interested in using.


  1. Tom says

    Worth noting that and do actually redirect to the right pages. They’re just using the longer urls in copy.

  2. James R Grinter says

    And when Barclays cease the sponsorship deal, who pays to design and replace all the logos, marketing materials, etc? Followed by another set of replacements when a new deal gets added.

    Do they learn nothing from the mess of Train Operating Company renames?