Wednesday 16th October 2013
Be Wiser Insurance
In 1963 the Worboys report recommended a cohesive and comprehensive system for road signage and what appeared was so good that it still exists in almost its original form today. Speed limits, give way and directions signs were all carefully designed to be clear to drivers even travelling at speed.
Before the report road signage in use was a mishmash of assorted shapes and sizes authorised by everyone from the Ministry of Transport to motoring organisations. But a sign designer called Jock Kinneir and his former student Margaret Calvert took up the challenge, after success with their striking blue and white motorway signs for the first 72 mile stretch of the then newly built M1.
One of the revolutionary ideas Kinneir had was to use upper and lower case letters as words are more easily recognised in this form at speed rather than in all capitals. Another stark change was the removal of actual words from warning signs and replacing them with easy to understand pictures and a bold red outline to catch the eye.
Even the colour scheme has survived for 50 years with motorways staying blue and other roads having green signs with yellow for road numbers, and very small roads having black on white. The system has coped admirably with the evolution of the road system beyond anything Kenneir and Calvert could ever imagine.

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