Friday, 16 October 2009

Jock Kinneir And Margaret Calvert (OUGD101)

Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert are responsible for designing the way we find our way around the UK. Together they deigned Britain's road signage system. They had the task of making the signs as clear and easy to read as possible when driving a car. The system they produced is essentially revolutionary in Graphic Design in my opinion.

'Primary Road Sign Example'

This image can be found at:

The above image is a classic example of a common road sign. The colours represent an A road. An integral part of the design process was to develop colour combinations for the road signs that could be easily distinguished as well as easy to read when traveling at speed. When experimenting, Kinneir and Calvert tested something in the region of 60 colour combinations in different conditions to determine what colours to use.

The following is an example of the construction of an early road sign. The letters were placed in boxes which shows clearly how much the letterforms on the signs have been kerned together or tracked apart.

'Road Sign Construction'

This image can be found at:

In the process of designing Britain's road signs, Kinneir and Calvert had to design an entirely new typeface for the system. They designed the typeface 'Transport' which was used on all road signs with type. Here it is:

'Transport Typeface'

This image can be found at:

As well as type, image based graphics were extremely important in communicating things as directly and obviously as possible:

'Children Crossing'

This image can be found at:

According to the British Design Museum, the above design was based on a childhood photo of Margaret Calvert which I found interesting enough to share on the blog.

Most of the other road signs can be seen here:

'Plastics Today (1965 - Issue Unknown)'

The above magazine cover was designed by Fetcher/Forbes/Gill and can be found at:

The colour coding system that Kinneir and Calvert developed was so successful that it is easy related to most things today when communicating in design. Mostly if something is had a thick red border then it suggests danger! To me, it is amazing how this amazing system has played such an important part in the development of Graphic Design which is why I have included it in this blog.


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