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Road signs celebrate their 50th anniversary

50 years ago, 21-year-old designer and typographer Margaret Calvert created the most recognisible feature of the British road system: our signs.

That red triangle with the children crossing the road? Margaret's. Those big, bold, bossy speed limit signs? Margaret's.

You might not feel that the British road signage really deserves a celebration - you drive past it every day, often cursing its existance. But it's not easy to create a bunch of pictograms that can be understood by every single person on the road - and Maragaret did just that, half a century before the rise of emojis.

My favourite road sign

Yes, I have a favourite - don't you? My favourite road sign is the farm animals one. It features a lovely cow, but that's not why I like it so much.

Margaret based her farm animals sign on a cow she knew when she was growing up. And its name was Patience.

A delightful reminder for us to wait calmly when animals are crossing. 🙂

Farm animals road sign

Don't miss the exhibit

Oh yes, there's a special exhibition of Margaret's road signs (just in case the ones you see every day aren't enough) at the Design Museum in London.

It's free (!) and it's actually slightly more interesting than it sounds. As well as a selection of Maragaret's finest, a variety of artists are showing their interpretations of our road signs. Should be pretty weird.

Find out more about 50 Years of British Road Signs.


Honor Clement-Hayes

By Honor Clement-Hayes

Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .

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ingenie is a car insurance brand for young drivers aged 17-25. We fit a black box in your car to assess your driving style. We'll review your policy 3 times a year and those who drive well could receive a discount.

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