Dan Edwards + Senator Group

We can do more, 2019

Inspired by employee handbooks at The Senator Group and their ethos ‘we can do more,’ Dan created bold, mono-coloured signs and slogans that encouraged small everyday acts of individual activism. These subverted the direct language of traffic signs that inform our everyday journeys into a vibrant call to action, installed across Blackburn town centre. The signs were created using the design parameters set out by Margaret Calvert for British road signs in 1957, the first deployment of which was the Preston bypass. The size of the sign, the spacing, text size and typeface were all used as per the instructions laid down by Calvert and her team, with the exception of the colour of the signs themselves.

These bright, alternative ‘road signs’ reminded audiences that – ‘We can make more, speak more, share more, sing more, dance more, smile more and play more. We can always do more.’ A limited number of prints were signed and distributed for free after festival goers visited all of the street signs on a tour Dan designed, collecting stamps along the way.

Dan also worked with Senator on producing crafted festival furniture for an Art in Manufacturing exhibition in the Festival gallery on Church St in Blackburn town centre.

In Focus

After the 2019 Festival, Dan delivered workshops to schools, giving site tours of his ‘signs,’ and a talk on his processes and working methods at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery.

Students from local schools explored the idea that the modern environment should be well designed and functional and that good design should be available to everyone in an update of William Morris’s quest for the useful and beautiful. Dan’s talks explored the processes at Senator and the language of the work of Margaret Calvert for Britains road signs with references to British Rail, Penguin books, London underground – all of which, like the festival, are designed with a sense of idealism and inclusivity.

“For me there really isn’t really any distance between the two worlds, it is people having ideas, working on them, making them happen and then presenting them. The only difference is the purpose of the outcome. There is a constant crossover and I think it’s healthy for both ‘art’ and ‘manufacturing’ to take part in this kind of cross-pollination.”

Dan Edwards


A graduate of the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London-based Dan Edwards has worked at the heart of the British art world as a renowned picture framer, a career which has fed into his own practice with a naturally developing interest in the preservation, presentation and perception of contemporary artworks. Dan works across different mediums as a way of interrogating personal and cultural anxieties.

The Senator Group is a design-led furniture manufacturer established in 1976 by present day chairman Colin Mustoe MBE to create places to meet, dine and work with a difference. Outside the marquee showroom in Clerkenwell, London and sites in Chicago, New York and Madrid – the group’s principle manufacturing site is in Accrington, where £10 million has been invested in its state-of-the-art desk factory alone, from which over 300,000 desks, tables, storage systems and screens are exported every year.

“By the very nature of what manufacturing is and does, is art. The output is often a beautiful object of desire; the journey can just often be forgotten.”

Gemma Vaughn, The Senator Group


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