In 1965 one of the most ambitious and effective information design projects was launched in Britain. The British Road Sign appeared on our streets for the very first time 50 years ago and has occupied an important role in our lives ever since, from instructing us where to go and a safe speed to travel at, to making us aware of any hazards or road works. The signs designed by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert standardised the road network, creating many of the signs we see today and produced two new typefaces: Transport and Motorway. The signage system was launched in 1965 and to celebrate its 50th anniversary we are planning a series of events that connect the north and south of England in 2015.
To mark this 50th anniversary leading artists and designers have transformed the familiar circle, triangle and square signs. They have developed concepts that evolve from current signs function of instructing people of speed limits and directions to poetically disrupting our everyday with designs that makes us stop, look and think about design and our environment in a slightly different way; less instructions and more pauses for thought. The project is curated by Patrick Murphy, Director of MADE NORTH. The project joins the north and south of England with a display of work and talk already taken place during Sheffield Design Week at the MADE NORTH Gallery and at London Design Festival in September.
The Design Museum will be a hub for the project with it’s own special installation of signs and information about the project. There will be an exclusive set of 5 limited edition screen prints of the 1965 original designs chosen by Margaret Calvert for the 50th Anniversary. We will also be launching a publication featuring the origins and development of the British Road Sign and also featuring the 50 signs created by contemporary designers and artists.