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Which do you think is better: Highway Gothic or Clearview?

Highway Gothic
Clearview

Author Topic: The Clearview thread  (Read 461118 times)

BigMattFromTexas

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The Clearview thread
« on: August 03, 2009, 05:35:25 PM »

Almost all of San Angelo's BGS's are in Clearview font and i think it looks cooler than Highway Gothic fonts are kinda "not so cool". Houston Harte Expressway is Clearview, and Loop 306 is some Highway Gothic font and i don't really like it, but the funny thing is it's all the same highway.
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2009, 05:59:49 PM »

That's a good question.  My best guess: people don't like change.

Clearview is becoming quite extensive in Michigan, although it varies from freeway to freeway.  The only thing that I don't like about Clearview is that numbers look really ugly.  Look:


(Chris Bessert, michiganhighways.org)

I've seen a few of these shields in Detroit and I think I-69 has some as well.
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2009, 06:01:41 PM »



So unappealing...

BigMattFromTexas

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2009, 06:05:29 PM »

ok so the numbers are REALLY ugly but i like the letters
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cu2010

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2009, 06:15:15 PM »

To me, it really depends on how its used. When I first saw it in PA, I thought it was really bad. The spacing of the letters was off and the whole thing just looked sloppy.

However, I've seen pictures of newer installations in Texas, Virginia, and Michigan, and I must say that it's grown on me.  The new Clearview signs in those states look really sharp. I still prefer the FHWA fonts, of course...but Clearview is fine if used well.  I definitely prefer highway shields to be done in the FHWA fonts, though.

Granted, NYSDOT hasn't jumped on the whole Clearview bandwagon yet (of course, NY as a whole is behind the times :D ), but NYSTA has...and they don't do that great of a job with it.
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2009, 06:29:22 PM »

Clearview annoys the hell out of me like Comic Sans MS does.  :angry:
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2009, 07:17:49 PM »

I think it wouldn't irritate me so badly if it weren't for the lowercase L's. I'd rather have the slanted top the FHWA fonts' lowercase Ls have than the stupid little feet the Clearview ones have.

The problem I have with Clearview other than that is it just seems way too friendly of a font. That's probably because the counter spaces are larger (a design decision made for legibility). But it sometimes seems kinda inappropriate in a road context, especially if you follow the designers' recommendation to not set it in all uppercase:

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2009, 07:49:46 PM »

what is "counter space"?

Clearview in general is just not a particularly attractive font.  I've seen plenty of custom state fonts ... some ridiculous (Maryland), others quite nice (New York) - why couldn't they have adopted the New York numbers??
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Duke87

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2009, 08:03:49 PM »

A lot of it probably just is that everyone's used to the old FHWA Gothic and anything else, no matter what it is, is going to look "off" because it's not what we expect it to look like.

That said, I second the complaint about the lowercase Ls. Curly bottoms look bad.

And yeah, setting in all caps serves a purpose: to distinguish between parts of the message. In the example above, the street name gets more lost in the text in the "correct" version while it stands out more in selectively capslocked version.
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WillWeaverRVA

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2009, 08:54:25 PM »

IIRC, Clearview was not meant to be used in route shields. More often than not, it isn't.
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2009, 02:13:31 AM »

what is "counter space"?

Counter spaces are the white spaces formed by the black space of a letter. So the loop of the "a" as well as the gap between its stories, the inside of the "o", the hole in the "e" and the space between its tail and the loop, etc. If you compare FHWA fonts to Clearview, you'll notice the holes are quite a lot bigger in Clearview. (Compare the lowercase "e"s in "Street" on my example for instance.) That's because the small counter spaces in FHWA fonts were perceived to be washed out by halation on retroreflective signs.

The larger counter spaces make the font seem more open, which in turn makes me perceive it as a more friendly font than the more down-to-business FHWA Series fonts. AT&T's use of it in their corporate branding certainly doesn't help—while FHWA fonts make me think "Trust me, doing what this sign says is best for your continued well-being", the Clearview fonts make me think "Hey! You know what would be synergistic?! Keeping right except to pass! Oh, and cell phones!"

Of course, the old block lettering makes me think "Keep it under 45 or I will hit you with this stick."

Clearview in general is just not a particularly attractive font.  I've seen plenty of custom state fonts ... some ridiculous (Maryland), others quite nice (New York) - why couldn't they have adopted the New York numbers??

You really need to put an index of these together someday.

IIRC, Clearview was not meant to be used in route shields. More often than not, it isn't.

It's more complex than that. The FHWA notice of provisional approval for Clearview only approved it for use as white text on a darker background. Studies had not effectively shown that there was a benefit for dark text on light background at the time (and in fact some studies conducted since then have shown that FHWA Series fonts might actually be more effective than Clearview at these types of applications). Dark-on-light has still not been approved, so really the only states that can properly use Clearview in state route shields are CA and MN, and neither of them seem too terribly interested in doing so. (Interstate shields are fair game.)

Of course Oklahoma in its infinite wisdom totally disregards FHWA best practices and sticks Clearview on whatever it wants.
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myosh_tino

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2009, 02:29:17 AM »



So unappealing...
...I'm surprised that "INTERSTATE" wasn't converted to Clearview to make it a 100% Clearview shield.  :rolleyes:
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2009, 03:00:33 AM »

That's a good question.  My best guess: people don't like change.

Clearview is becoming quite extensive in Michigan, although it varies from freeway to freeway.  The only thing that I don't like about Clearview is that numbers look really ugly.  Look:
(snipped image)
I've seen a few of these shields in Detroit and I think I-69 has some as well.
IIRC, Clearview was not meant to be used in route shields. More often than not, it isn't.

Yes, the route shields that have been done in Clearview are goofs. Of course, I don't expect MDOT is in a hurry to correct all of them, although a few have been.
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2009, 03:55:11 AM »

The main reason I dislike Clearview is that it's just too thin.  I also fully concur on the lowercase Ls . . . the serifs ruin it.

-Alex (Tarkus)
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agentsteel53

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2009, 04:16:10 AM »

gotcha re: "counter space" 

another problem with Clearview seems to be the wide kerning of the letters ... namely, blank space between letters is too large!  Look at your FHWA guide sign vs. the Clearview one, and see how much more space there is between the letters.  That is quite unattractive!

as for the custom state fonts... I am working on it!  See the shield gallery for lots of examples; and I can pull together what is needed if anyone requests a replica sign.

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2009, 10:38:36 AM »

For me, I like clearview more at night. I've noticed that I'm able to see all the signs rather than those with light near them.
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SSOWorld

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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2009, 11:14:53 AM »

For me, I like clearview more at night. I've noticed that I'm able to see all the signs rather than those with light near them.
I don't think the font contributes to this as much as the reflectivity on the signs - wait until they age with time, then check again :P
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2009, 11:27:27 AM »

For me, I like clearview more at night. I've noticed that I'm able to see all the signs rather than those with light near them.
I don't think the font contributes to this as much as the reflectivity on the signs - wait until they age with time, then check again :P

True
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2009, 11:34:41 AM »

I wonder if there was some road signs tested with Comic Sans MS?  :poke:
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2009, 08:30:47 PM »

If you're going to use goofy fonts, go all out and put all signs in wingdings!
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2009, 08:49:58 PM »

I wonder if there was some road signs tested with Comic Sans MS?  :poke:

« Last Edit: August 04, 2009, 08:52:26 PM by Duke87 »
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2009, 09:42:38 PM »

I wonder if there was some road signs tested with Comic Sans MS?  :poke:



 :ded:

Some fonts are too cute for highways.
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2009, 10:36:32 PM »

I wonder if there was some road signs tested with Comic Sans MS?  :poke:
Good Lord I hope not, but there sure are a lot of speed limit signs in Helvetica in my area.
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2009, 01:22:14 AM »

I wonder if there was some road signs tested with Comic Sans MS?  :poke:

There are construction signs stating, "Slow down my daddy works here" in that horrible font. It's messy, little-kid scrawl, and reminds me of high school.
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Re: The Clearview thread
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2009, 01:30:31 AM »

Virginia Beach uses some strange font on most of its speed limit signs (most notably on Shore Drive for the quick drop from 45 MPH to 25 MPH).

Hopewell...um, don't get me started with them.



Proof that this monstrosity really exists

It was still there when I was in Hopewell last weekend.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 01:32:16 AM by SyntheticDreamer »
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