The Jock Kinneir Library launches with an appeal for submissions

Two of Jock Kinneir’s grandchildren have launched what is hoped will become a substantial online archive of his work. The Jock Kinneir Library will include sketches, work-in-progress, teaching materials, correspondence and texts of lectures and interviews in an attempt to bring the story of one of the UK’s most important graphic designers to life.

Working with designer Margaret Calvert in the late 1950s, Kinneir established a UK-wide road signage system which made use of their Transport typeface and designed the Rail Alphabet typeface for the newly-formed British Rail in 1965. The pair’s work has since been known to millions of users of the country’s railways, roads and motorways.

Anna and Simon Kinneir have started gathering materials for a library but are looking for contributions from people who knew Kinneir, were taught by him or worked with him. Simon, a designer and teacher at Camberwell College of Arts, and Anna, co-director of social enterprise Makerversity Amsterdam, have collaborated with Calvert, type designer Henrik Kubel, the V&A and the Royal College of Art’s archive team on establishing the first stages of the project.

While Kinneir’s work has earned its place in numerous publications on the history of British design, there is “currently no resource that makes his design processes and teaching accessible to a wide global audience of designers, academics and enthusiasts,” say the Library’s founders. “The Jock Kinneir Library aims to change that.” One area of Kinneir’s life on which there is little information is the decade he spent teaching on the Royal College of Art’s Graphic Design course from 1964.

The aim of the Library, which plans to launch officially on May 21, is to establish a “valuable and comprehensive resource for students, teachers and enthusiasts of Jock’s practice and teaching, and of the user-focused design methodology he espoused.”

If you would like to make a contribution to the Library, visit

All images © 2017 Jock Kinneir Library. Traffic-sign images provided by GOV.UK under an Open Government Licence. Typeset in New Rail Alphabet by Henrik Kubel in collaboration with Margaret Calvert

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