Graphics pioneer Margaret Calvert visits Metro to see the logo she created

Graphic deigner Margaret Calvert with her font at Jesmond Metro station in Newcastle
2 April 2024

The pioneering graphic designer who created the Tyne and Wear Metro’s famous yellow logo – Margaret Calvert - has made a visit to the region to see her iconic typeface on the network. 

Calvert drew the eponymous solid font which became the instantly-recognisable symbol of Metro when it opened in 1980.

The designer, who did much to shape the visual identity of modern Britain, travelled up from her home in London on Tuesday, 26 March, to view her Metro logo and Calvert font typeface on the Metro system. 

Calvert designed the large yellow Metro ‘M’ cubes outside stations, on trains, and throughout signage within, including giant wall graphics on underground Metro platforms.

We were honoured to invite Calvert, now in her 80s, to view her work on the transport system.

It included a visit to the Nexus Learning Centre in South Shields to see her logo on the new Metro train fleet.

She took a short journey on Metro through Newcastle city centre to see her typeface at some of the most well-known underground Metro stations – Jesmond, Monument, Haymarket and Central - which formed part of the original Metro network when it was first built. 

Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus, said: “It was a huge honour to welcome Margaret Calvert on the Tyne and Wear Metro to see her design work at first hand, on our stations in Newcastle, and on our amazing new trains. 

“This is the woman who created Metro’s iconic typeface, which is at the very core of the brand. The Metro logo has become one of our region’s most iconic symbols and that was all thanks to Margaret’s work for us in the late the 1970s. 

“The visit was her first ever chance to see her designs on our underground stations through the centre of Newcastle, which I know was a particular thrill for her. More than 40 years after she created that familiar Metro logo she got the chance to see how her work has shaped Metro. 

“It’s a design which has stood the test of time. Margaret’s work for Metro, both the font and the way it is used throughout the system, will be with us for many years to come.”

Calvert’s visit was the first time that she had seen her design work on the Metro system in Newcastle.

It follows up her visit in December 2021, where she got the chance to see her designs at some of the Tyne and Wear Metro stations on the Sunderland line. 

With a career spanning over six decades, Margaret Calvert has helped to shape the nation's visual identity.

Her work with Jock Kinneir has defined our roads, rail stations, and airports, and her work with Kubel has changed the face of the Gov.UK website.

Calvert is best known for her collaboration with Kinneir on the design of Britain’s road signage system — starting with the motorways in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and finally coming into effect on 1 January, 1965, with the all-purpose roads.

Much of her work has been in the public domain for clients such as British Rail and the British Airports Authority, followed by the Tyne and Wear Metro, which opened in 1980, where she used her own lettering for the signing system.

Now marketed under the name ‘Calvert’, for Monotype, her most recent project has been the design of Rail Alphabet 2, in collaboration with Henrik Kubel, for Network Rail.

Her long association with the Royal College of Art, from 1966 to 2001, included a full-time appointment as Head of Graphic Design from 1987 to 1991.

She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Royal College of Art in 2016.

Calvert’s work, including her designs for the Tyne and Wear Metro, was celebrated in an exhibition at London’s Design Museum in 2020. 


Huw Lewis reflects on Margaret Calvert's importance to Metro

Images from Margaret Cavert's Metro visit

© 2024 Nexus Tyne and Wear - Public Transport and Local Information.