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8 February 2013
The extraordinary story of Traffic Signs
Buchanan Computing helps the Design Museum create its new exhibition
Traffic signs created with SignPlot feature prominently in a new exhibition at the Design Museum celebrating designs that have shaped the modern world.
The largest item in the whole exhibition is a full-size motorway sign, created using SignPlot to Margaret Calvert’s specification. Alongside this is the fascinating story of how Margaret, and her colleague Jock Kinneir, designed the typeface and the rules that governed the layout and spacing of signs, illustrated by material from 1960s, such as the original sign mock-ups or maquettes and copies of the Worboys Report.
SignPlot was also used to recreate for enlargement Margaret and Jock’s diagram showing how tile outlines and ‘stroke widths’ determine the optimum spacing of elements within a sign. These rules have stood the test of time, ensuring easy legibility and good aesthetic appearance.
Simon Morgan commented, ‘Having strict rules for layout has ensured that traffic signs fulfil their purpose admirably without unduly disrupting the urban or rural environment, and in some cases enhancing it. The extraordinary vision of Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert when they created the fonts and design rules is shown by the fact that the British system is now widely copied all over the world. It was a great honour to have a part in giving greater recognition to this remarkable story.’
The new exhibition, Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things, is open until 5 January 2015 at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD.
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