The Droitwich Sign & Print Co Limited
20 October 2020

Margaret Calvert: The woman behind road signs and transport fonts

Road signs are an important part of our national road safety and being able to interpret their meaning as you whizz passed in your car was the responsibility of Margaret Calvert. 

Typographer and graphic designer Margaret Calvert is responsible for many of the iconic road signs that you see on a daily basis as well as transport fonts and the Railway Alphabet used on the British railway system and signs for Gatwick Airport. With a career spanning decades, Margaret has been instrumental in many signs that we often take for granted as well as the type face on the website, it has been said that Margaret has shaped our national visual identity.

Originally from South Africa, Margaret moved to England in 1950 where she went on the study at the Chelsea College of art. It was here that her tutor Kinneir asked for her help to design new signs for Gatwick Airport.

When Kinneir became head of signs for Britains roads he asked Margaret to redesign the entire road sign system, from the motorways to small country roads. These new road signs were required to be uniform, easily read from a car and easy to read at speed. Using the European standards of red triangle and red circles, she came up with simple pictograms depicting men at work, schoolchildren with a girl leading a boy by the hand and farm animals.

So important was her work in this field that Margaret was appointed Office of the Order of the British Empire in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to typography and road safety.

You can see a display of her work, Margaret Calvert: Women at Work, at the Design Museum from 21st October to 10th January, which coincides with the launch of Network Rail’s new customised typeface in collaboration with Henrik Kubel for more information visit The Design Museum website

For help with your signs that are easily read from a car and easy to read at speed please get in touch with our team who will be able to help you design, print and install signs for your business –

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