Margaret Calvert: It’s about knowing who you are designing for (video interview)
Margaret Calvert is a graphic designer famously known for her design of road signs and typefaces, including the font Calvert. I interviewed her in London in 2013 at the AGI Open conference.
It's about asking the right questions and knowing whom you are designing for.
Margaret Calvert is a graphic designer famously known for her design of road signs and typefaces, including the font Calvert. At AGI Open London 2013 she tells Sarah Jayne Fell, for Design Indaba, about designing lettering and road signs from scratch, focussing on the driver’s needs.
Calvert’s work started in the 1950s when vehicle ownership was booming and the government was alarmed at clogged up roads. With the decision to create motorways, the existing road signs became inadequate for the new speed people would be travelling at. Jack Kinnear, assisted by Calvert, embarked on creating a new set of road signs for the changing use of roads.
“When you design road signs you have to start from scratch,” she says. “We looked at what they already had and then started drawing letterforms in terms of making it readable for the driver.” It’s all about asking the right questions and knowing whom you are designing for, she says.
In Calvert’s opinion designers have two sides: one that likes to play, is creative and inventive, and another that focusses solely on whom the design is for.
Design is not always only about putting your personality into a particular design, she says. Calvert also recently worked on the gov.uk website, in an advisory position to designer Ben Terrett.