Saturday 6 May 2017 16.00 BST
Nothing says London like the Routemaster bus, tube roundel logo or Harry Beck’s schematic underground network map. Now the capital’s transport authority is seeking to generate cash to reinvest in its tube, train and bus services, using these design classics to sell branded products overseas.
Transport for London (TfL) has struck its first global licensing deal, aiming to create a £100m a year branding business. From designer chairs using tube seat patterns and lamps inspired by bus headlights to London underground map tea towels, its own fashion brand and limited edition sets of Scrabble, TfL plans to take its successful UK licensing programme to global markets.
“We have been chuntering along quite happily for a number of years and built a great foundation in the UK,” said David Ellis, head of intellectual property development for TfL. “Since slightly before the London 2012 Olympics, there has been an energy behind London. We are now hoping to really drive this internationally. It is time to push the brand in key territories across the global market.”
Top of the target list are Japan, China, North America and – closer to home – Europe, said Ellis.