Page last updated at 18:34 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

Tartan for London design competition won by student

The winning tartan design for London by James Heafield
London's buses, roads and parks were among the inspirations for the tartan

A philosophy student from Dorset has won a competition to design London's first official tartan.

James Heafield's design was selected by judges including Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane and his compatriot, the poet Jackie Kay.

Mr Coltrane described it as "really handsome and warm" while Ms Kay said it was "classic and classy".

London arts venue Kings Place and The Scottish Tartans Authority organised the contest.

Each tartan is a fabric pattern relating to a specific clan, family or institution.

Burns night

While most originate in Scotland, traditionally appearing on kilts, tartans have also been created to represent global regions and institutions - including 30 US states, Russia, Sri Lanka, the Arctic and Antarctic.

Mr Heafield, 22, who is from Dorset but is currently studying philosophy at King's College London, beat off 89 other entries, and he was announced as the winner on Monday, Burns Night.

Each competitor had to give a brief description outlining the reason behind their design.

Mr Heafield said: "I started with a prominent red background as I feel it is one of the most closely associated colours with the city of London, not least because of the traditional red London buses but also because it adds a regal nature to the tartan symbolising the capital's noble past as the centre of British life.

Royal family

"The red also makes reference to the royal family who reside at Buckingham Palace as well as more general British institutions such as red phone boxes and red post boxes.

"I then added a black line to symbolise the famous London black cabs and added a white line to subtly suggest road markings as a representation of the many London streets that make up the capital.

"Next I inserted a green line hidden between the red, black and white to represent the great London parks, such as Hyde Park, Regent Park and Greenwich Park, that are hidden between the London streets. Lastly I added thin blue lines that run across the tartan like the River Thames runs across the city.

"The pattern of the tartan and particularly the thin brightly coloured blue and green lines are to suggest a link to the London Underground map as well as generally resembling the gate on the back on a 1p coin."

Mr Heafield's design will now be registered with the Tartan Register in Edinburgh.

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