The Jock Kinneir Library is an independent initiative dedicated to
the work and teaching of the British graphic designer Jock Kinneir
(1917–1994). Its mission is to explore his teaching, discourse and
design approach as an open, creative and academic platform.
The Library was launched on 11 February 2017, 100 years after his birth. 100 days later on 21 May the Library has its first update with three articles; memories from a student, reflections as a colleague, and a transcript of one his talks.
We are always keen to hear from anyone who has memories or material relating to his life, practice, teaching or talks. Please contact us if you are able to contribute. If you’d like to be kept up to date on its development, please leave your email address below.
Jock Kinneir was one of the most important and influential British graphic designers of the 20th century. His user-centred approach to design and typography emphasised the importance of clarity and rationalism to public design practice, and remains relevant and inspiring to the design world of today.
Kinneir is best known for his work in partnership with Margaret Calvert, one of his former students at Chelsea College of Art, where they began a professional relationship that would go on to define the graphic identity of Britain.
Together, they were responsible for conceiving, testing and implementing the UK’s road signage system, including the pair of typefaces that defined it: Transport and Motorway. Despite a few tweaks and additions since it was introduced, their system remains largely unchanged today – over 50 years since Kinneir and Calvert created it. As well as becoming the unofficial ‘house style for Britain’, it has influenced the design approach to way-finding worldwide.
Less is known about the decade Jock spent teaching on the Royal College of Art’s Graphic Design course from 1964, including his five years as head of department, his work with the College’s Unicorn Press, and talks he gave internationally.
Jock and his wife Joan left three children and seven grandchildren, two of whom – Simon and Anna Kinneir – have set up the Jock Kinneir Library to create an accessible resource about his life and work. If you knew him, worked with him, were taught by him, or are in possession of any correspondence related to his work, please get in touch.