Move over Highway Gothic, Make Way for Clearview

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 ...
by | December 31, 2009

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.

Oran Viriyincy

I can't help but wonder what road signs would look like if they were entirely in Wingdings...

(Photo: Oren Viriyincy/CC)

Tina Trenkner
Tina Trenkner  |  Deputy Editor, GOVERNING.com
ttrenkner@governing.com  |  @tinatrenkner

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