An exercise in brand evolution for Rowe Hankins

Getting the brand back on track for an international rail engineering company.

The challenge

For over 30 years, Rowe Hankins have been designing and manufacturing safety equipment for the rail industry. With a global reputation for quality, reliability and innovation, it was time for the brand to reflect this.

Our challenge was first to demonstrate the value in creating a consistent and strong brand presence that reflected the business values and reinforced the strap-line “KEEPING RAIL JOURNEYS MOVING SINCE 1985.” 

Unfortunately, the existing brand toolbox was incoherent, inconsistent and used elements from various iterations over the years which undermined these statements.

The approach

We started with getting the fundamentals correct. This began with a logo health check, analysing the existing Rowe Hankins logotype and suggesting refinements where required without moving too far from existing logotype. 

We also had to explain when to add ‘Limited’ or ‘LTD’ to a logo.

It was our belief that Rowe Hankins:

  • Held a strong reputation within the rail industry.
  • Established a very strong brand presence, utilising an icon in use since the business’s foundation.
  • Appeared for all major web searches as ‘Rowe Hankins’ and not ‘Rowe Hankins Ltd.’
  • Did not need ‘Ltd’, as it gave the business a formal appearance it didn’t require.

Adding Ltd. could confuse the audience. Recreating the foundation of the logo device highlighted imperfections in the icon. To ensure accuracy, the aim was to showcase and mirror the business’s commitment to precision engineering. Minor adjustments were made to create a perfect circle.

We then proposed to change the red and blue currently in use to those used in the Union Jack flag, Pantone 280 and Pantone 186. This small change reinforced the positioning of Rowe Hankins being the best of British engineering. 

We also created a beautifully engineering bespoke typeface for the logotype.

The results

We completed a new set of brand guidelines, presentation animation, a product guide and product flyers as well as a new WordPress website design.

Click the following link to see the website by Think.


increase in users


increase in top 3 keywords


increase in top 10 keywords

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