24th Feb 2015 5:30pm
Nicholas Oddy, Glasgow School of Art.
When the concept of the first modern road sign was suggested to both the newly formed Bicyclists' Union and Bicylists' Touring Club in 1878, they probably perceived it as it was intended, a warning to cyclists, rather than the agent of road politics it would become. This talk will analyse the design of British road signs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to plot the various messages they projected to road users until signage was brought under full government control in 1933 under the provisions of the 1930 Road Traffic Act. The paper will show that the focus given to the modernist Kinnear/Calvert signage of 1964 has tended to mask both the importance of previous signage systems, both in terms of its implications to the understanding of what a road is for, and the quality of the design of the signs themselves.