Herbert Spencer was a British designer, editor, writer, photographer and teacher. He was born in London.
Spencer was an RAF cartographer during the Second World War. He taught typography at the Central School of Arts and Crafts from 1949 to 1955. In 1966 he became a senior research lecturer in the print research department of the Royal College of Art; he was a professor of graphic arts there from 1978 until 1985.
In 1949 Spencer founded Typographica, a design and visual arts journal. He was editor of all the thirty-two issues published, in two series of sixteen issues each, from 1949 until it closed in 1967. He also designed and wrote for it. Between 1964 and 1973 Spencer was also editor of The Penrose Annual.
Spencer wished to prove that British road signs were chaotic. He therefore photographed road signs and published the results in two photographic essays in Typographica in 1961.
As a result the Ministry of Transport set up the Warboys Commission in 1963 to devise a consistent system of signage for British road signs.