The humble road sign turns 50 this year and to celebrate Made North has gathered leading artists and designers to transform the triangle, circle and square signs so many of us encounter on a daily basis.
The British road sign was initially conceived by designers Jock Kinnier and Margaret Calvert. The pair created many of the signs we still see today and also devised two new typefaces: Transport and Motorway. Curated by Made North director Patrick Murphy, new signs have been conceived by big names including – Sir Peter Blake, Graphic Thought Facility, Quentin Newark, Jeremy Leslie, Mark Bonner at GBH and many more.
The anniversary signs are more disruptive than their instructive counterparts. The familiar colours and type are there but their messages force us to stop and think about design and the environment they exist in. The most successful signs are those that are a bit more tongue-in-cheek and cleverly play on familiar sayings and roadside complaints. Signs tell us to “read it later”, that it’s “my way or the highway” and to “smile” at the camera and it’s this renewed sass that makes these signs and the project as a whole so interesting.
The show has already appeared at Sheffield Design Week, and as a way to join the north with the south, the exhibition will also be showing at the Design Museum as part of London Design Festival from Saturday 19 September.
- Victor Fonseca treats his graphic design practice like a “playground”
- Photographer Jack Latham investigates the hidden conspiracies of Bohemian Grove
- Stella Park’s warm illustrations reflect her outlook on life
- Ugly beauty and challenging established norms feature in Jade Palace's collaboration with Yat Pit
- Astrid Seme elevates an artist’s work by challenging it through the lens of design
- Elizabeth Hibbard’s unsettling photographs examine subjective experience with a visceral gaze
- New study claims to pinpoint the most creative time of day, down to the minute
- Singapore-based studio Swell explores the idea of the banished book
- "My little niece and my grandmother like the game equally": how Playables made the simply addictive Kids
- In being "open to possibilities" still life painter Duane Keiser paints the everyday joys of life
- What the cluck? KFC releases limited-edition bucket hat
- For Bizzarri-Rodriguez, book design “is everything except a science”