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Class of 2021: A clear sign of talent

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Published on 01 December 2021

Margaret Calvert OBE
Margaret Calvert OBE

Margaret Calvert OBE was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by the University of Sunderland alongside hundreds of graduating students at the Stadium of Light.

Margaret is best known for her work with Jock Kinneir on the design of Britain’s road sign system. Starting with the newly created motorway system in 1957 the system still remains in place today.

Her iconic creations include the Roadworks and the School Children Crossing signs. Her recent exhibition at London’s Design Museum, titled ‘’Woman at Work’’, featured a new typeface for Network Rail which will eventually be rolled out across all Network Rail stations, for signs and architectural publications, starting with Paddington.

And if you live in the north-east you cannot fail to have seen Margaret Calvert’s work for Tyne and Wear Metro.

Margaret’s lettering designs for the Metro were originally created for the French new town of St Quentin-en-Eveline, but her designs were rejected on the grounds of being ‘too English’. She thought her new lettering, eventually named ‘Calvert’ by the Monotype Corporation, would be a welcome change from the ubiquitous use of sans serif lettering.

‘Calvert’ lettering made it’s first appearance in 1980 when her Majesty the Queen opened the Tyne and Wear Metro to much acclaim. Over 40 years later, her ‘too English’ lettering is recognised as a true design classic which tens of thousands of Metro travellers see every day.

On receiving her award Margaret Calvert said: “I feel hugely honoured to receive such a distinguished award, especially from the University of Sunderland, one of the country’s most outstanding northern universities.”