Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may not really notice it, but the fonts used on the signs you read have a huge role in how you receive information. If you can't make out the words or letters in a certain font, you're likely to get confused. (Which may explain why clearer fonts like Helvetica are used almost everywhere, as seen below in the trailer for the documentary of the same name.)
PennDOT is one of the latest to use a clearer font on some of its road signs, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . Clearview is supposed to be up to 16% more legible than its predecessor, Highway Gothic, and is supposed to help older drivers recognize the sign's words without increasing the actual size of the sign:
[Clearview] uses thinner lines and more open space on the insides of some lowercase letters, and increases their height. The font is said to reduce a phenomenon called halation, which causes blurring when bright headlights strike a highly reflective surface.
The Federal Highway Administration approved the use of Clearview in 2004. A quick look through a Clearview Flickr pool show that the font also shows up on signs in (but not limited to) Texas and Virginia.
I can't help but wonder what road signs would look like if they were entirely in Wingdings...
(Photo: Oren Viriyincy/CC)
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.