Margaret Vivienne Calvert
|Born||1936 (age 84–85)|
|Education||St Paul's Girls' School, London|
|Alma mater||Chelsea College of Arts, London|
|Occupation||Typographer and graphic designer|
|Known for||Design of road signs in the United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories.|
|Awards||Officer of the Order of the British Empire|
Margaret Vivienne Calvert (born 1936) is a British typographer and graphic designer who, with colleague Jock Kinneir, designed many of the road signs used throughout the United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies, and British Overseas Territories, as well as the Transport font used on road signs, the Rail Alphabet font used on the British railway system, and an early version of the signs used in airports. The typeface developed by Kinneir and Calvert was further developed into New Transport and used for the single domain GOV.UK website in the United Kingdom.
Early life and education
Born in South Africa, Calvert moved to England in 1950, where she studied at St Paul's Girls' School and the Chelsea College of Art. Kinneir, her tutor there, asked her to help him design the signs for Gatwick Airport. They chose the black on yellow scheme for the signs after researching the most effective combination. They also designed luggage labels for P & O Lines in 1957.
In 1957, Kinneir was appointed head of signs for Britain's roads. He then hired Calvert to redesign the road sign system and she came up with simple, easy-to-understand pictograms, including the signs for 'men at work' (a man digging), 'farm animals' (based on a cow named Patience that lived on a farm near to where she grew up), and 'schoolchildren nearby' (a girl leading a boy by the hand, which she said were actually modelled after herself), using the European protocol of triangular signs for warnings and circles for mandatory restrictions. The Worboys Committee was formed by the British government in July 1963 to review signage on all British roads.
In addition to her road signs, Calvert has designed commercial fonts for Monotype, including the eponymous Calvert font, a slab serif design which she created in 1980. It originated in a 1970s proposal to the French new town of Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines for a new font to provide a visual identity for the town. However, the slab-serif typeface and three-dimensional letter shapes were rejected. The font was later adopted by the Tyne and Wear Metro system as well as north-east England bus and ferry services in the 1980s.
Gallery of work
Transport typeface, used on road signs in the UK and several other countries
Motorway typeface, used for road numbering on UK motorways
Calvert typeface on the Tyne and Wear Metro
Roadworks sign used in the UK, one of the pictographic signs designed by Calvert ahead of the 1963 Worboys Review
UK road sign warning of schoolchildren, one of the pictographic signs designed by Calvert ahead of the 1963 Worboys Review
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