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The Westminster roundel design
Photograph: Alamy

An African-themed redesign of London Underground’s logo is getting a permanent home

This inclusive artwork will bring colour and heritage to Westminster tube station

Written by
Alice Saville

The London Underground roundel has a good claim of being one of the best-known logos in the UK, if not the world: it’s been endlessly reproduced, riffed on and parodied since it was first created in the early twentieth century. Now it’s had a makeover courtesy of British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong, who has replaced its traditional red, white and blue colouring with bold shades of red, yellow, green and black – the colours of Ghana’s flag.

His new roundel will go on permanent display at Westminster Station, just opposite Big Ben, in a powerful affirmation of multicultural London. It’ll be seen by thousands of tourists, commuters and locals each day. In a nice gesture, Achiampong has said he wants his artwork to be displayed outside the ticket barriers, so it’ll be free for everyone, whether they intend to travel or not, to enjoy. 

This roundel was originally one of eight, designed by Achiampong as part of a temporary commission at Westminster station three years ago. His starry design is decked with West African Adinkra symbols inspired by the Ghanaian idea of ‘sankofa’, which means delving into the past to find inspiration for the future, as well as visually referencing sci-fi and time-travel themes. The artwork will be accompanied by pocket guides containing an interview with Achiampong, as well as permanent plaques on the station offering context. 

It’s all a welcome new addition to TfL’s popular Art on the Underground strand, which brings joy, surprise and colour to London travellers every year. Let’s hope that more stations get a similar arty makeover soon. 

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