A Talk by Richard Simon, Applied
6.30pm Tuesday 4th February at The Gallery
In December 1961 Herbert Spencer published an article in Typographica 4 called Mile-a-minute Typography. In it he voiced the "urgent need to review the whole system of British road signs and especially to adopt simple pictorial symbols in place of the wordy and often ambiguous notices at present in use".
Spencer's work directly influenced the establishment of the Worboys Committee to review signage on British roads, which in turn led to the publication of the "Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions" in January 1965, a document that still directs the design of traffic signs in the UK.
Mile-a-minute Typography included a photographic analysis of the mass of signs that "assail and sometime guide, but all to often confuse, the motorist driving along the relatively short route between Marble Arch and Heathrow".
50 years on I will examine his legacy by walking the same route to review the state of road signs in the UK.
My career began as a traffic engineer, redesigning road junctions and using KeySIGN to design vehicular direction signs. Over 25 years, I have wandered through some of the biggest multi-disciplinary engineering companies as a transport planner, pedestrian crowd dynamics modeller and masterplanner before finally coming to rest as the Planning Director at wayfinding design agency Applied. I have worked on a number of acclaimed wayfinding projects including Bristol Legible City, Legible London, I Walk New York and projects in Glasgow, Leeds, Ipswich, Bournemouth and Vancouver.
The Gallery, 75 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
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