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For dockstories, I made a 'map' of Bristols City Docks, which consists of a collection of peoples stories of events which have affected them personally alongside Bristols City Docks. The stories are diplayed on the large hoarding situated on Redcliffe Backs (alongside Redcliffe Bridge, opposite Severnshed and Riverstation). They are placed geographically on the board, in other words where they are situated on the board relates to where they would be on a map of the docks.
Whilst trying to find out more about Kinneir and Calvert I came across two useful items by Adam Greenfield and Dan Hill. I have read both of these articles before, but listening to part one of this Radio 4 programme has burned a few new connections into my neural pathways to link these three items.
Kinneir and Calvert's designs for British roads were not only practical, they exhibited a warmth and humanity lacking in signage in some other countries. The ‘Transport' sans serif font they designed has a ‘soft’ feel, their pictograms, such as the ‘children’ warning sign, were sensitively drawn. A lot of the original work is still in use today and, indeed, the Department of Transport was able to turn to original artwork and layout instructions when it digitised the signs a few years ago.
Most importantly, the work was done at a time when, in the words of author Robin Kinross, there was an ‘official will to modernise the public infrastructure,’ which led it to becoming a rare model of the role that design could play in public life. Although the Department is still using the basic design, it has a regrettable tendency to add unnecessary extra clutter (such as brown panels for tourist information).
The message for us today is how Kinneir started. He looked from the perspective of a driver, not a designer: ‘What do I want to know, trying to read a sign at speed?’ It's that clarity of thought which makes his work a remarkable contribution to modern design.
A five-part celebration of some of our most familiar, but unrecognised design classics: the road sign, the white line, the roundabout, the green man and the traffic calmer. Some are regarded as international design classics, others bemuse overseas visitors as eccentric. But as Joe Kerr finds out behind them lie forgotten histories, and fifty years of combined brainpower from typographers, psychologists, engineers and ordinary members of the public.
In the first programme, Joe meets the woman who was one half of the partnership who in the 1960s came up with the distinctive look of British road signs. Today they are heralded as a triumph of design. And if you've ever wondered who drew the pictures on our signs - this programme reveals all.