Metro cube appears in London to celebrate the designer Margaret Calvert

A Metro cube
23 October 2020

An iconic station cube from the Tyne and Wear Metro is on display at the Design Museum in London to celebrate the pioneering graphic designer Margaret Calvert – the woman who created the Metro network’s famous yellow logo.

Calvert, a designer who did much to shape the visual identity of modern Britain, created the eponymous, solid font which has become an iconic and instantly-recognisable symbol of Metro since it opened 40 years ago.

The Calvert font appears on the large yellow Metro ‘M’ cube logo outside stations and throughout signage within, including giant wall graphics on underground Metro platforms.

The new exhibition celebrates Calvert’s work on Metro alongside her wider achievements – including the familiar pictograms and signage for the national road network, and the font used on the national rail network.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, confirmed that the Calvert font would also feature prominently on a new £362m train fleet being designed and built to run on the system for the next 30 years.

Customer Services Director, Huw Lewis, said: “Margaret Calvert is one of the most important graphic designers of the last 100 years.  Alongside her work on national road and rail signage here in North East England we owe her a particular debt.

“The visual identity Margaret created through her distinctive font design is truly iconic - it is as timeless as that of the London Underground and embodies the unique pride our region has for Metro as it celebrates its 40th anniversary.

“When Metro was built local politicians and planners wanted it to have a whole new feel to set it apart as a modern urban transit system like nothing seen before in Britain.  Margaret Calvert’s work on the visual identity helped achieve that.

“The Calvert font has a sturdy character to it which reflects the character of North East England. I think that’s why it has more than stood the test of time to help make Metro part of everyday life.

“We have been proud to work with the Design Museum to help tell the story of Margaret Calvert’s lifelong achievements, and it is fitting that a Metro cube should appear in London for the first time as part of that.”

The display, which opened yesterday, Wednesday October 21, explores Calvert's co-designed wayfinding systems for transport networks across the UK and her impact on modern information design, alongside insight into her creative process and 'play’ projects.

With a career spanning over six decades, graphic designer Margaret Calvert has helped 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.

The exhibition celebrates Calvert's incredible influence on design and designers, and her continuing impact through projects such as the new Rail Alphabet 2 typeface for Network Rail, designed in collaboration with Kubel.
 

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Huw Lewis

© 2020 Nexus Tyne and Wear - Public Transport and Local Information.