Margaret Calvert OBE RDI | M1

Margaret Calvert portrait

Portrait of Margaret Calvert OBE RDI by Marina Willer

Margaret talks about her design:

“With the design I aimed for absolute simplicity, the design puts all the emphasis on the hands - there’s no need for numbers on the dial.

There’s a 3d element that you get because of the build up with one hand on top of the other. You get these shadows and this richness and then once you’ve got the white border, which is also taken from the motorway signs, you’ve got something completely new."

Margaret Calvert OBE RDI, is a British typographer and graphic designer, best known for her work with Jock Kinneir on the design of Britain’s road signs.

After graduating from Chelsea College of Art in 1957, Margaret started working with Jock Kinneir. They were commissioned to design a signing system for the new motorway network, which included the development of the Transport letterform.

Following this work they were appointed by the Worboys committee to redesign the sign system for the entire British road network. The new system they produced was launched in 1965 and is still in use today.

Margaret is also known for the design of ‘Calvert’, a Monotype font, used to sign the Tyne and Wear Metro. Alongside her commercial practice, she taught at the Royal College of Art from 1966 to 2001, where she was Head of Graphic Design from 1986 to 1991.

Rail Alphabet 2, designed in collaboration with Henrik Kubel, is one of her most recent projects, exhibited in a retrospective at London’s Design Museum in 2021–22. titled ‘Woman at Work’.