We see them every day, whether we want to or not, and hardly give them a second glance. Most of us realize that we won’t even be able to read them until we get a certain distance from them, and that quick, frantic reading is necessary if too much information is packed onto the green, hulk of a sign. Being in unfamiliar territory only amplifies the hurried reading, often leading to missed highway exits or roads all together.
But what if relief was a simple as changing the font? Is it that simple? Two men, an environmental designer and a type designer, think that the answer is “yes”. Their new typeface is a creative and well thought out solution to the problem of road signs with less-than-optimal visibility. Rather than simply make the road signs larger, a solution that simply would have increased cost due to increased materials, their new font, Clearview, has addressed the actual faults of it’s predecessor, Highway Gothic.
After years in development, the more open and legible Clearview has shown an improvement in visibility of up to 16% in tests, which could mean adding a second or two worth of visibility to a driver travelling at 60 MPH.
Boring design? For some, yes. Functional design? Inarguably so. Although it may never grace the covers of magazines or be hailed as the next Helvetica, it goes to show that good graphic design is everywhere and is even at work keeping us safe on the roads.