South African born Margaret Calvert considers herself lucky in having spent a lifetime doing what she finds most challenging, as graphic designer, typographer and educator. Her first job, immediately after completing a four year course at Chelsea, specialising in Illustration and printmaking, in the late 1950s, after finishing secondary education at St Paul’s in London, was assisting Jock Kinneir, then teaching at Chelsea, in the design of a signing system for Gatwick Airport; a collaboration which would eventually lead to a design partnership and the establishment of Kinneir Calvert Tuhill.
Best known for her collaboration with Kinneir on one of the largest and most well recognised public design projects in Britain, much imitated in other parts of the world, the road signing system, which came into effect on the 1st January 1965 and still remains in place today, despite minor modifications. One of the highlights of her career has been the exhibition of her Woman at Work painting, at the request of Humphrey Ocean RA, in the 2008 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Now translated into a large screen print. She has had a long association with the Royal College of Art as Head of Graphic Design from 1986 to 91, having taught part-time from 1966.
In 2011 she was elected a Royal Designer for Industry, and in 2016 awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art and an OBE for services to Typography and Road Safety, as well the Misha Black Medal for distinguished services to design education. Most recently, she was awarded the London Design Festival’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Medal.