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National Boards => General Highway Talk => Traffic Control => Topic started by: ethanhopkin14 on July 11, 2013, 02:01:42 PM

Title: The Clearview Subject
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 11, 2013, 02:01:42 PM
I am sure this has been covered in other threads, but since both Clearview and Highway Gothic are approved fonts for MUTCD specifications, not all states are switching. Is that a true statement, or have those states just not got around to resigning their BGS?  The two big offenders I can think of are CalTrans and MassDOT. Are there other states that haven't made the switch or are there ones that aren't planning to ever switch?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on July 11, 2013, 02:07:43 PM
Hopefully NJDOT doesn't switch. That's all I can say.

And just because it was approved by the FHWA, doesn't mean states want to switch. Why fix what's not broken? Highway Gothic does it's job well, and I don't see it ever needing a total replacement in the near future.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on July 11, 2013, 02:13:02 PM
I am sure this has been covered in other threads, but since both Clearview and Highway Gothic are approved fonts for MUTCD specifications, not all states are switching. Is that a true statement . . .

Yes, it is a true statement.

Quote
. . . or have those states just not got around to resigning their BGS?

No.  There has been heavy sign replacement activity in states that have not changed over to Clearview.  OR, ID, MA, KS, SD, MO, GA, FL, IN, and MN come to mind.  Similarly, it is not generally true that changeover to Clearview is correlated with massive sign replacements.  In some states (AZ, MI, VA) that has been the case, but in others (SC, AR, OK) changing to Clearview has actually coincided with a drop in the amount of sign replacement activity.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 11, 2013, 02:17:23 PM
I am with you. I am a Highway Gothic fan. I am not a Clearview hater per se, but I do find it slightly annoying. And I hate the numbers. The only reason I was afraid of all states changing is because I have a feeling this is FHWA's way of slowly phasing out Highway Gothic (you know, let's make them both approved now until enough time has passed, then ban it). I personally find Highway Gothic comforting and makes me think of my favorite road trips. Clearview makes me think "oh, there is a font that wants to be on a highway sign, how cute."
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on July 11, 2013, 02:25:27 PM
I am with you. I am a Highway Gothic fan. I am not a Clearview hater per se, but I do find it slightly annoying. And I hate the numbers. The only reason I was afraid of all states changing is because I have a feeling this is FHWA's way of slowly phasing out Highway Gothic (you know, let's make them both approved now until enough time has passed, then ban it). I personally find Highway Gothic comforting and makes me think of my favorite road trips. Clearview makes me think "oh, there is a font that wants to be on a highway sign, how cute."

Clearview numbers are quite possibly the ugliest thing to look at. The letters aren't that bad, but the numbers? I'd take Arialveticagrotesk numbers ANY day over Clearview's.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 11, 2013, 02:29:25 PM
I am with you. I am a Highway Gothic fan. I am not a Clearview hater per se, but I do find it slightly annoying. And I hate the numbers. The only reason I was afraid of all states changing is because I have a feeling this is FHWA's way of slowly phasing out Highway Gothic (you know, let's make them both approved now until enough time has passed, then ban it). I personally find Highway Gothic comforting and makes me think of my favorite road trips. Clearview makes me think "oh, there is a font that wants to be on a highway sign, how cute."

Clearview numbers are quite possibly the ugliest thing to look at. The letters aren't that bad, but the numbers? I'd take Arialveticagrotesk numbers ANY day over Clearview's.

Drives me nuts. Here in Texas they love to use Clearview on exit numbers and Interstate mile markers. Makes me shutter every time I see it.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Big John on July 11, 2013, 03:23:43 PM
Wisconsin experimented with Clearview on the south Madison Beltline.  Conclusion was it was not an improvement and will not be erecting any more Clearview signs.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PHLBOS on July 11, 2013, 03:34:18 PM
There has been heavy sign replacement activity in states that have not changed over to Clearview.  OR, ID, MA, KS, SD, MO, GA, FL, IN, and MN come to mind.
Add CT to that list.  All the recent BGS replacements along I-84 are not in Clearview.  The two 'one-off' westbound Clearview BGS' in Waterbury were recently replaced.

since both Clearview and Highway Gothic are approved fonts for MUTCD specifications, not all states are switching.
If memory serves, the FHWA's acceptance of Clearview is presently a temporary one (i.e. trail basis).

Additionally, the FHWA did recently issue some guidelines that (if followed 100%) restricts the use of Clearview fonts for only mix-cased lettering on a dark background.  All-caps, numerals and dark letters on light background in Clearview is considered; at the least, to be not recommended, and at the most, to be flat-out discouraged.

Granted, not all DOTs are yet adhering to the above-guidelines.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: roadman on July 11, 2013, 03:34:30 PM
I am sure this has been covered in other threads, but since both Clearview and Highway Gothic are approved fonts for MUTCD specifications, not all states are switching. Is that a true statement, or have those states just not got around to resigning their BGS?  The two big offenders I can think of are CalTrans and MassDOT. Are there other states that haven't made the switch or are there ones that aren't planning to ever switch?

MassDOT does not use Clearview (the Clearview guide sign for MA 9 on US 20 in Shrewsbury was a fluke and will be replaced), nor do they plan to adopt the font at anytime in the future.

Their rationale for sticking with Highway Gothic is principally because of the lack of research being conducted regarding the longetivity of Clearview signs in actual field conditions (as opposed to controlled environments or extrapolations of lab results).  Because the taller and narrower letters of Clearview result in a different contrast ratio than with Highway Gothic, there are concerns that changes over time due to weathering, etc.,  may require signs to be replaced for legibility reasons long before the sheeting wears out.  So, a sign panel that may have lasted 20 to 25 years with Highway Gothic lettering might need to be replaced at 12 to 15 years with Clearview lettering.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Dr Frankenstein on July 11, 2013, 03:36:48 PM
My understanding is that Clearview is still under interim approval (memorandum IA-5 (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/res-ia_clearview_font.htm)) and agencies have to submit an application to the FHWA to get to use it. Plus, the only commercial implementation of Clearview (ClearviewHwy) seems to be pretty expensive.

This is what the FHWA has to say about the correct use of the typeface: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/res-ia_clearview_font.htm

As far as I know, the only place where the use of Clearview is required for BGSes is Québec. (I couldn't find a conclusive answer for Manitoba and British Columbia.) Ontario has made tests with it as well but they weren't conclusive. Note that Canada is obviously not under FHWA jurisdiction.

Personally, I like Clearview, but I suppose it's a matter of preference.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: roadman on July 11, 2013, 03:43:42 PM
PHLBOS and Dr. Frankenstein are both correct.  Use of Clearview font still requires FHWA to grant a state Interim Approval for use.  One condition of interim approval is that, should FHWA find the font to be unacceptable in the future, the approval is recinded and all now non-conforming devices are to be replaced with standard ones.

Interim approval is usually granted for things (like VDOT's 12 panel LOGO signs) that are anticipated to be included in the next edition of the MUTCD.  It's interesting that, although the 2009 MUTCD has been issued, FHWA is still requiring interim approval for Clearview.

As for the use of Clearview on "negative contrast" signs (i.e. black on white or black on yellow), Texas Transportation Institute did a study that demonstrated that visibility of Clearview signs is actually worse than with Highway Gothic.  This is the reason for the FHWA recommendations.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: The High Plains Traveler on July 11, 2013, 04:08:37 PM
Nor anywhere on the state highway system in Colorado. CDOT has been adding APLD signs along I-25 between Pueblo and Colorado Springs, all in standard font. The only places I've seen Clearview in Colorado - though I'm sure there are many more - are on signal mast arm street name signs in Pueblo and Denver, and pole-mount ("blade") street signs in Colorado Springs.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Avalanchez71 on July 11, 2013, 04:31:26 PM
I am sure this has been covered in other threads, but since both Clearview and Highway Gothic are approved fonts for MUTCD specifications, not all states are switching. Is that a true statement . . .

Yes, it is a true statement.

Quote
. . . or have those states just not got around to resigning their BGS?

No.  There has been heavy sign replacement activity in states that have not changed over to Clearview.  OR, ID, MA, KS, SD, MO, GA, FL, IN, and MN come to mind.  Similarly, it is not generally true that changeover to Clearview is correlated with massive sign replacements.  In some states (AZ, MI, VA) that has been the case, but in others (SC, AR, OK) changing to Clearview has actually coincided with a drop in the amount of sign replacement activity.

I-65 in Williamson County TN just had a rebuild and no Clearview in sight.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 11, 2013, 05:08:03 PM
PHLBOS and Dr. Frankenstein are both correct.  Use of Clearview font still requires FHWA to grant a state Interim Approval for use.  One condition of interim approval is that, should FHWA find the font to be unacceptable in the future, the approval is recinded and all now non-conforming devices are to be replaced with standard ones.

Interim approval is usually granted for things (like VDOT's 12 panel LOGO signs) that are anticipated to be included in the next edition of the MUTCD.  It's interesting that, although the 2009 MUTCD has been issued, FHWA is still requiring interim approval for Clearview.

As for the use of Clearview on "negative contrast" signs (i.e. black on white or black on yellow), Texas Transportation Institute did a study that demonstrated that visibility of Clearview signs is actually worse than with Highway Gothic.  This is the reason for the FHWA recommendations.

   I guess I have a slightly skewed view of the Clearview topic being a resident of Texas. TxDOT is madly in love with Clearview and have made it the state's standard font for non FHWA regulated highways (ie: U.S., State, and Farm to Market Highways). If what you are saying is true and the FHWA chooses some day to pull the plug on Clearview, Texas will have a boat load of signs that will be deemed "non conforming" and will cost them a ton of money. Way to spend our money wisely Texas!!  Again, it was stupid to go nuts on Clearview when Highway Gothic does the job perfectly fine.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vdeane on July 11, 2013, 07:59:23 PM
Ditto for PA.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on July 11, 2013, 08:45:01 PM
I guess I have a slightly skewed view of the Clearview topic being a resident of Texas. TxDOT is madly in love with Clearview and have made it the state's standard font for non FHWA regulated highways (ie: U.S., State, and Farm to Market Highways). If what you are saying is true and the FHWA chooses some day to pull the plug on Clearview, Texas will have a boat load of signs that will be deemed "non conforming" and will cost them a ton of money. Way to spend our money wisely Texas!!  Again, it was stupid to go nuts on Clearview when Highway Gothic does the job perfectly fine.

Actually, I doubt TxDOT would lose out if FHWA decided to rescind the Clearview interim approval tomorrow.  The more realistic scenario, given the considerable amount of Clearview signage that has been installed nationwide, is that FHWA would instead enforce a phaseout deadline set far enough in the future that most if not all Clearview signs would be life-expired before they had to be removed.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Alps on July 12, 2013, 12:21:36 AM
If FHWA would just go to Series E instead of Series E(M), Clearview would have no leg to stand on re: stroke width, hole size, and halation.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: SidS1045 on July 12, 2013, 10:24:10 AM
MassDOT does not use Clearview (the Clearview guide sign for MA 9 on US 20 in Shrewsbury was a fluke and will be replaced), nor do they plan to adopt the font at anytime in the future.

...as specifically stated in the MA supplement to the MUTCD:

"Alternative fonts such as “Clearview” shall not be permitted for use on legends on directional or street name signs for streets and highways within Massachusetts."

(Page 61 at http://www.mhd.state.ma.us/downloads/trafficMgmt/MASSMUTCD20120409.pdf)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on July 12, 2013, 11:01:51 AM
If FHWA would just go to Series E instead of Series E(M), Clearview would have no leg to stand on re: stroke width, hole size, and halation.

I don't think that is actually true.  I am not aware that Series E has ever proved to have a unit legibility greater than that of Series E Modified.  In comparison to Clearview (at either the 5-W or 5-W-R spacings), its lowercase loop height is a smaller percentage of capital letter height.

I am actually not sure that stroke width, hole size, and halation are all that important in determining the relative legibility of Clearview in general, although they are probably the major driver of the enhanced benefits for older drivers.  I think the enhanced lowercase loop height is probably a more important factor for the motoring population as a whole.  For Clearview this is 84% of capital letter height, versus 75% for the FHWA alphabet series, and if you divide the former by the latter and subtract 1, the size difference you get (12%) is pretty close to the 11% increase in unit legibility that is claimed for Clearview 5-W-R over Series E Modified (in the "equal footprint" scenario).

FHWA's current position with regard to Clearview (as expressed in the Clearview FAQ) is that Clearview produces a 5% legibility increase for older drivers, which is a composite of the legibility effects of using Clearview and microprismatic sheeting.  In contradistinction, FHWA claims a legibility increase of 6.3% for upgrading to microprismatic sheeting alone.  This implies some clawback of benefit for using Clearview (in other words, legibility would probably be even better if the microprismatic sheeting upgrade were accompanied by use of Series E Modified).  This flatly contradicts the earlier finding (trumpeted off the rooftops by Meeker and Associates) that Clearview produces an 11% legibility increase in the "same footprint" scenario (using Clearview 5-W-R), or 21% with 11% increase in sign panel area when Clearview 5-W is substituted for Series E Modified.  However, for FHWA it serves to justify its position that Clearview will not be added to the MUTCD because it is an "equivalent alternative" rather than a net improvement.

Bottom line:  if you are a highway agency, you are better off keeping on trucking with Series E Modified rather than messing around with Series E in an attempt to counter the claimed advantages of Clearview.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Roadsguy on July 12, 2013, 11:14:53 AM
From a recent trip to North Carolina, it seems NCDOT is avoiding it like MA and WI.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: OracleUsr on July 12, 2013, 12:54:12 PM
That's affirmative in NC.  There are tons of new signs that use the FHWA fonts...thankfully.

I just spent 6 days in Michigan and can testify Clearview is overrated.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Kacie Jane on July 12, 2013, 01:06:39 PM
I've never seen Clearview on a WSDOT maintained road. However I have seen it on county roads on the Olympic Peninsula, in Seattle approaching the Magnolia Bridge on Elliott Avenue, and all over the place in Everett.

In fact, in Everett, I saw an SR 529 shield in Clearview on a traffic signal street blade.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Ian on July 12, 2013, 04:55:50 PM
The New Hampshire DOT has stated in a series of emails between me and them that they won't use Clearview either, because it costs way too much money to switch over for a very minimal change.

MaineDOT and RIDOT also do not have any desire to switch to using Clearview as well.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: TCN7JM on July 12, 2013, 07:35:33 PM
I remember seeing a guide sign or whatever it's called  on I-55 north in Illinois yesterday that used Clearview letters and Highway Gothic numbers. I almost gagged, no kidding. I mean, I don't mind Clearview, but that combination looked ugly as hell, especially since one of the "cities" on the sign was Illinois 111.

EDIT: Er, maybe it wasn't 111, it wasn't that close to East StL, but it still looked horrid.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on July 12, 2013, 08:11:43 PM
I remember seeing a guide sign or whatever it's called  on I-55 north in Illinois yesterday that used Clearview letters and Highway Gothic numbers. I almost gagged, no kidding. I mean, I don't mind Clearview, but that combination looked ugly as hell, especially since one of the "cities" on the sign was Illinois 111.

EDIT: Er, maybe it wasn't 111, it wasn't that close to East StL, but it still looked horrid.

I'm pretty sure that that is how Clearview is intended to be used - at least according to the FHWA page on Clearview. (Located here: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/clearviewdesignfaqs/ ) Here's what I'm talking about...

Quote
   
Q: Does this mean all letters, numerals, and characters of Clearview are significantly more legible?

A: Numerals and special characters have not been tested for legibility and concerns have been reported thereon in field applications. Therefore, numerals continue to be displayed on highway signs using the Standard Alphabets.

An image of a guide sign is shown with the legend "Nuangola 2 MILES." The destination of Nuangola is displayed in upper- and lower-case letters of the alternative alphabet. The distance legend of 2 MILES is shown in all upper-case letters of the Standard Alphabets.
(http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/clearviewdesignfaqs/images/fig4.jpg)
Figure 4. ACCEPTABLE: Example of appropriate use of Clearview for destination legend (mixed-case) and FHWA Standard Alphabets for other legends (all upper-case and numerals).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: TCN7JM on July 12, 2013, 08:17:58 PM

I'm pretty sure that that is how Clearview is intended to be used - at least according to the FHWA page on Clearview. (Located here: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/clearviewdesignfaqs/ ) Here's what I'm talking about...

Quote
   
Q: Does this mean all letters, numerals, and characters of Clearview are significantly more legible?

A: Numerals and special characters have not been tested for legibility and concerns have been reported thereon in field applications. Therefore, numerals continue to be displayed on highway signs using the Standard Alphabets.

An image of a guide sign is shown with the legend "Nuangola 2 MILES." The destination of Nuangola is displayed in upper- and lower-case letters of the alternative alphabet. The distance legend of 2 MILES is shown in all upper-case letters of the Standard Alphabets.
(http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/clearviewdesignfaqs/images/fig4.jpg)
Figure 4. ACCEPTABLE: Example of appropriate use of Clearview for destination legend (mixed-case) and FHWA Standard Alphabets for other legends (all upper-case and numerals).

That isn't the type of sign I'm talking about, though. This sign actually looks alright. It was just that the usage of different fonts literally one space away from each other was horrendous. It'd be like if I put the last word of this sentence in 14pt bold for no particular reason.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: mgk920 on July 14, 2013, 12:22:14 AM
Despite WisDOT rejecting Clearview, my home town City of Appleton began using a condensed version of it on its street name blade signs last summer (ie, see: http://goo.gl/maps/MBYjG This image was shot during September of 2012 at Superior/Washington in downtown Appleton) and the City's public works guys have been going hog-wild with new signs with that font throughout the city this year.

Also note that little white blotch below the directional 'W' on that sign - with the conversion to that font last year, the City is now date-stamping its blade signs, the blotch says "12".

Mike
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Quillz on July 14, 2013, 12:56:10 AM
Yup, Clearview is presently only being used on an interim basis, and only for positive contrast (light legend on dark background), which essentially means freeway BGS and other similar applications. It is not allowed for use on negative contrast (dark legend on light background), as studies have not shown it to be any more legible than the standard FHWA Series fonts.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PurdueBill on July 14, 2013, 04:33:05 PM
Yup, Clearview is presently only being used on an interim basis, and only for positive contrast (light legend on dark background), which essentially means freeway BGS and other similar applications. It is not allowed for use on negative contrast (dark legend on light background), as studies have not shown it to be any more legible than the standard FHWA Series fonts.

While that's what FHWA has approved, the reality has unfortunately been that it's been used in all the wrong ways. Negative contrast, all-caps, numbers in shields, numbers for distances and exit numbers...none of those are approved uses but they are out there--big time in some places.    I think that contributes to my dislike for it--it's being misused in places it doesn't belong like exit gore signs and all-caps street sign blades that shouldn't have any Clearview at all and probably because the people who sell it don't tell the buyers just how restricted the approved usage really is.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on July 14, 2013, 07:38:57 PM
Yup, Clearview is presently only being used on an interim basis, and only for positive contrast (light legend on dark background), which essentially means freeway BGS and other similar applications. It is not allowed for use on negative contrast (dark legend on light background), as studies have not shown it to be any more legible than the standard FHWA Series fonts.

While that's what FHWA has approved, the reality has unfortunately been that it's been used in all the wrong ways. Negative contrast, all-caps, numbers in shields, numbers for distances and exit numbers...none of those are approved uses but they are out there--big time in some places.

While those usages are all deprecated by FHWA in its Clearview FAQ (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/clearviewdesignfaqs/index.htm), not all of them are unapproved.  The controlling document is still the Interim Approval memorandum (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/res-ia_clearview_font.htm) of September 2, 2004, which in its pertinent parts reads:

Quote from: FHWA
Purpose: The purpose of this memorandum is to issue an Interim Approval for the optional use of the Clearview font for positive contrast legends on guide signs.

. . .

Conditions of Interim Approval: Spacing of Clearview font shall follow the spacing tables for Clearview, and not SHS E-modified. This includes the use of the Clearview 5-W(R) spacing tables for overhead conditions that may not accommodate a Clearview 5-W legend in replacement of existing E-modified legends. Action word messages and cardinal directions shall remain in all upper case letters and the first upper case letter of a cardinal direction shall be 10 percent greater in height for conventional road guide signs as per Table 2E.1 through Table 2E.4 of the 2003 MUTCD for expressway/freeway guide signs. The Clearview font should not be used on negative contrast signs until research demonstrates the effectiveness.

So, parsing the memorandum with regard to various deprecated practices related to Clearview:

Negative contrast--Not approved, but the prohibitory language is weak ("should not" rather than "shall not")

All caps for distance expressions, cardinal direction words, action messages, etc.--Approved (memorandum says all caps must continue to be used for these, and does not say that Clearview cannot be used)

Clearview digits against main sign background color--Approved

Clearview digits in shields--Not approved if in negative contrast; unclear if in positive contrast.  It depends on whether route markers are considered guide signs, or their own type of sign.  FHWA classifies conventional-road guide signs as D-series signs, freeway/expressway guide signs as E-series signs, and route marker signs as M-series signs.  The MUTCD guide signing chapters (2D and 2E) all address the use of D-, E-, and M-series signs.  If route markers are guide signs, then use of Clearview digits is permitted as long as they appear in positive contrast; Clearview digits in negative contrast are banned regardless of how route markers are classified

Interline spacing for Clearview legend set equal to three-quarters capital letter height rather than the lowercase loop height for Clearview--Not addressed in the memorandum.  Design of Clearview signs in the vast majority of states has proceeded on the assumption that the same interline spacing can be used as for Series E Modified:  i.e., 75% of capital letter height (which is the same as lowercase loop height for that typeface).  This rule has traditionally been framed as interline spacing set equal to lowercase loop height, however, and FHWA is now trying to say that this means the interline spacing of Clearview, i.e., 84% of capital letter height rather than 75%.  I don't agree with FHWA on this issue; I don't think the added green space brings any legibility benefits to justify the cost.  Given that Clearview 5-W-R has been designed specifically as a drop-in replacement for Series E Modified, which implies that it has the same interline spacing as well as the same legend line widths, I think the operating assumption has to be that Clearview is engineered for legibility at the same interline spacings--calculated as 75% of capital letter height--as the FHWA series

Quote
I think that contributes to my dislike for it--it's being misused in places it doesn't belong like exit gore signs and all-caps street sign blades that shouldn't have any Clearview at all and probably because the people who sell it don't tell the buyers just how restricted the approved usage really is.

Exit gore signs and street sign blades (whether all-caps or not) are guide signs in positive contrast and are therefore approved uses of Clearview.  The real problem, as I see it, is not that Clearview is used in these applications, but rather that the use of all caps for primary destination legend (including names of streets) shows ignorance of the fact that the published test results compare only mixed-case Clearview 5-W and 5-W-R with mixed-case Series E Modified.  No test results have been published, as far as I know, for all-caps Clearview in any series, much less in comparison to all-caps or mixed-case FHWA series other than E Modified.

The more serious problem is that the last two MUTCD revisions have seriously messed up legibility control for guide signs by permitting the use of mixed-case alphabet series other than FHWA Series E Modified, while leaving the choice of alphabet series to designer discretion.  If the legibility properties of mixed-case legend in the new FHWA 2000 Series typefaces are known, then the test results have not been published.  Given that the MUTCD's guide sign design standards for conventional roads are already deeply unconservative (6" uppercase letters allowed for roads subject to speed limits of up to 75 MPH, versus 16" uppercase typical for freeways) and many states exercise additional design options which add to sign reading problems (e.g., including direction, destination, and distance information on a single sign on the approach to a junction), this sets the stage for a serious degradation in sign readability which will likely have to be addressed through a future MUTCD revision.

Ironically enough, the states that opted to convert to Clearview for guide signs are in a somewhat better position than most others with regard to this issue.  Texas and Michigan, for example, used their Clearview changeovers to bootstrap mixed-case legend on conventional-road guide signs with a higher capital letter height.  The previous standard in both states (essentially the same as the vanilla MUTCD) was 6" all-caps Series D; the new standard is mixed-case Clearview with 7" capital letters in Michigan and 8" in Texas.  (The lesser enhancement still leaves Clearview legend with a loop height more or less equal to the capital letter height under the old standard.)  Texas and Michigan could do still better by restricting Clearview series choice to 5-W or 5-W-R, both of which are proven.

California and Washington have both long used mixed-case Series E Modified at an enhanced capital letter height for conventional-road guide signs.  More states should follow their example instead of messing around with mixed-case Series D, C, or even B.  And yes, there are documented instances of mixed-case Series B on guide signs--Vermont in particular likes it.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: DaBigE on July 14, 2013, 09:21:08 PM
Despite WisDOT rejecting Clearview, my home town City of Appleton began using a condensed version of it on its street name blade signs last summer (ie, see: http://goo.gl/maps/MBYjG This image was shot during September of 2012 at Superior/Washington in downtown Appleton) and the City's public works guys have been going hog-wild with new signs with that font throughout the city this year.

Also note that little white blotch below the directional 'W' on that sign - with the conversion to that font last year, the City is now date-stamping its blade signs, the blotch says "12".

Mike

How old are these signs http://goo.gl/maps/d8CWU (http://goo.gl/maps/d8CWU)? I was just in Appleton yesterday and saw a bunch of these with the apple logo, definitely not Clearview.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: machias on July 14, 2013, 09:23:46 PM
If FHWA would just go to Series E instead of Series E(M), Clearview would have no leg to stand on re: stroke width, hole size, and halation.

I agree with this as well, there are some signs on I-390 SB in the Rochester, New York area that use Series E instead of Series E(m) lettering (but to Series E(m) letter spacing) and it appears to be easier to read than Clearview and Series E(m).  I pointed this out to a couple of engineers in NYSDOT Region 4 and they agreed.

Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: mgk920 on July 14, 2013, 09:41:35 PM
Despite WisDOT rejecting Clearview, my home town City of Appleton began using a condensed version of it on its street name blade signs last summer (ie, see: http://goo.gl/maps/MBYjG This image was shot during September of 2012 at Superior/Washington in downtown Appleton) and the City's public works guys have been going hog-wild with new signs with that font throughout the city this year.

Also note that little white blotch below the directional 'W' on that sign - with the conversion to that font last year, the City is now date-stamping its blade signs, the blotch says "12".

Mike

How old are these signs http://goo.gl/maps/d8CWU (http://goo.gl/maps/d8CWU)? I was just in Appleton yesterday and saw a bunch of these with the apple logo, definitely not Clearview.

Yea, they were installed when the College Ave street was repaved through the downtown area about eight, ten years or so ago.  In addition, the City installed blade signs with a fancy script 'W' logo on the entire length of Wisconsin Ave (WI 96) in the City last year when the last of that street's major rebuild was completed.  Those signs are also pre-Clearview.  See: http://goo.gl/maps/eqFyf for an example.

Mike
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: aswnl on October 17, 2013, 10:44:16 AM
In the Netherlands (NL) we also use E(M), its called Ee over here.
Two years ago a new font has been derived: Dd. The idea behind it is something you Americans would call Series D (modified); i.e. Series D with a little more space between the characters. Chances are high that Dd will replace the quite new Uu-font on non-freeways in NL.

Here some examples:

Ee:
(http://bewegwijzering.autosnelwegen.nl/images/008R/008R-01-4-40-02-KP%20Zaandam.jpg)

(http://bewegwijzering.autosnelwegen.nl/images/010R/010R-02-0-30-01-s102.jpg)

Ee and Dd:
(http://bewegwijzering.autosnelwegen.nl/images/010R/010R-01-1-42-01-KP%20Coenplein.jpg)

Dd:
(http://bewegwijzering.autosnelwegen.nl/images/073L/073L-07-0-10-01-Vierlingsbeek.jpg)

(http://bewegwijzering.autosnelwegen.nl/images/010L/010L-13-1-10-03-KP%20Watergraafsmeer.jpg)

And this is Uu (the Dutch 90-ies redesign-clearview-development), that will probably be replaced bij Dd:
(http://bewegwijzering.autosnelwegen.nl/images/012L/012L-03-0-41-01-Den%20Haag%20Bezuidenhout%20GEEN%20NBA%20MAAR%20REDESIGN.jpg)(exitnumbers are in Ee/E(m))

What do you all think of Uu and Dd [or: D(m) ] versus Ee/E(m)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Brandon on October 17, 2013, 11:34:22 AM
Dd (aka D(m)) looks rather nice.  It fits in well with the E(m) (aka Ee) used.  Uu on the other hand - blech.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: 1995hoo on October 17, 2013, 11:41:55 AM
What amuses me about the FHWA Cleaview FAQ cited several times in this thread is that a good number of the signs shown in that FAQ as bad examples are signs I pass on a regular basis.  :-D

I find Clearview a lot easier to read from a distance than the Gothic fonts commonly in use around here. The font I've always liked, though, is the one Georgia uses on many signs. I believe it's a modified Series D? I hardly ever see it used anywhere else (currently I know of one BGS in Virginia that uses either that font or a very similar one; another nearby BGS was replaced in the last few years). To my eyes it's always had a nice look to it and it's easier to read than the thicker-style Gothic commonly used around here.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Big John on October 17, 2013, 11:46:10 AM
^^ Georgia is now using the E(M) font, but is not systemically replacing all their signs so most of their D signs are still up.

I prefer the E over E(M) as the latter was made to accommodate button copy and is too bold to stand up on its own.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: 1995hoo on October 17, 2013, 11:49:03 AM
^^ Georgia is now using the E(M) font, but is not systemically replacing all their signs so most of their D signs are still up.

....

Too bad as to the former. Good as to the latter. I don't drive through Georgia that often (typically twice a year going to and from Florida), so I don't see the signs as often as I did in the 1990s when I headed south more frequently. I've always found their D signs easier to read than E(M), though I find Clearview easier to read than either.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on October 17, 2013, 12:44:25 PM
Two years ago a new font has been derived: Dd. The idea behind it is something you Americans would call Series D (modified); i.e. Series D with a little more space between the characters.

the key modification is the weight of the font: the line thickness.  I believe the (M) series, as used in the US, is 10% bolder.  (I'd have to look up that number.)  I know California used BM, CM, DM in the 40s and 50s, and CM and DM have shown up in other places as well.  I've never seen AM, and I've seen a few button elements that are FM. 

it looks like Dd is DM, in that the stroke thickness is indeed bolder. 

Quote
What do you all think of Uu and Dd [or: D(m) ] versus Ee/E(m)

as can be expected, I don't much like Uu.  I am fine with Dd and Ee. 

that said, haven't there been studies which say that the regular weight (D and E) are more legible than the modified?  I seem to recall that the main reason EM persisted for so long was because of button copy: plain E would not accommodate reflectors.  California gave up on the M weights other than button copy by 1973.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: aswnl on October 18, 2013, 05:41:06 AM
Thank you all for your comments.

Two years ago a new font has been derived: Dd. The idea behind it is something you Americans would call Series D (modified); i.e. Series D with a little more space between the characters.

the key modification is the weight of the font: the line thickness.  I believe the (M) series, as used in the US, is 10% bolder.  (I'd have to look up that number.)  I know California used BM, CM, DM in the 40s and 50s, and CM and DM have shown up in other places as well.  I've never seen AM, and I've seen a few button elements that are FM. 

it looks like Dd is DM, in that the stroke thickness is indeed bolder. 
OK, this was the kind of info I was looking for.

as can be expected, I don't much like Uu.  I am fine with Dd and Ee. 
You are not the only one. Returning to the Interstate font family and abolishing the newer Uu-font isn't an easy decision, but it's the logical consequence of learning from mistakes. Not everything new is better...
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Dr Frankenstein on October 18, 2013, 09:07:26 AM
I actually like Uu.

... *runs away*
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on October 18, 2013, 10:45:24 AM
What do you all think of Uu and Dd [or: D(m) ] versus Ee/E(m)

Just to add to what Jake said upthread:  the bolding (increase in stroke width) that is used to produce "modified" versions of the FHWA alphabet series amounts to an increase in the original stroke width, but I don't think the increase is actually 10% (as Jake says) or 11% (as I have calculated in the past).  There is a Caltrans publication, Overhead Signing and Contract Sign Plans (1989) (prepared jointly by District 7 and Headquarters), which has a table of ratios of stroke width to uppercase letter height for both the FHWA alphabet series and the Caltrans alphabet series.  The Caltrans series are essentially "bolded" versions of the FHWA series.  The 1989 publication says the "bolding" is done by adding 20% to the FHWA stroke width.  The tabulated values are as follows:

SeriesCaltransFHWA
B0.140.125
C0.160.141
D0.180.156
E0.200.172
E Modified(None)0.20
F0.220.188

Caltrans now specifies the FHWA series and has officially discontinued its own alphabets.  I suspect, however, that they continue to be used on reflective signs which are produced using old silkscreen tools.  Most of Caltrans' specs for warning and regulatory signs have not been updated since a "Great Redrawing" in 1972, which has allowed old art to remain in use for decades depending on how well it stands up to repeated use in sign fabrication.  The difference is especially glaring on text-message warning signs which have some letters in Caltrans and some letters in FHWA in the same line of legend, as occasionally happens.

Aswnl, I am not sure whether your question solicits technical information or an aesthetic judgment.  I do not know enough about Dd (or for that matter Ee or Uu) to say whether the extent of bolding is the same as for modified FHWA Series D (Caltrans Series D).  It also has to be noted that the FHWA series other than E Modified were uppercase-only until quite recently, so lowercase letters in Dd have no equivalent in modified D as traditionally used in the US.

Judging from the posts upthread, I'd say it is unequivocally the consensus view that Uu is awful.  Whether Uu is more widely disliked than Clearview (which does have its advocates on this forum) is a harder question to answer.  It seems to me that it is, but the responses upthread amount to a small and therefore statistically unreliable sample.

The Netherlands is far from the only country in Europe to have attempted to replace its default typeface for highway signs, or in doing so to substitute a humanist typeface for a gothic one.  Of the others that have tried it, I think it is fair to say that only Switzerland (where ASTRA-Frutiger is an able successor to the SNV typefaces) and Austria (where the TERN typefaces are slowly replacing the "old DIN" previously used) have experienced anything like unqualified success.  Spain has recently published an updated edition of Norma 8.1-IC, which deals with vertical signing, and substitutes Carretera Convencional (a much bolder, Transport-derived typeface) for Autopista (a Spanish near-clone of Series E Modified) in most contexts where the latter was previously used.  I think the resulting signs look ugly, and this change will lead to tears if it is not reversed in short order.

It also seems to me that by making Dd available to sign designers, the Rijkwaterstaat (if that is what the Dutch equivalent to FHWA is still called) has set up the same trap as FHWA has done in the 2003 and 2009 editions of the MUTCD, which is to allow the widespread use of typefaces of lower intrinsic legibility.  Dd, however well designed it is, is too condensed to match Ee for legibility.  The conservative approach to design is therefore whenever possible to avoid substituting Dd for Ee, and when Dd must be used, to make some compensating alteration in the sign design--such as dropping one or more destinations--to ensure motorists' task loads are not increased.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on October 18, 2013, 10:51:26 AM
The 1989 publication says the "bolding" is done by adding 20% to the FHWA stroke width. 

how are they saying 20%, and we came up with 10/11%?  that is a huge discrepancy which implies to me a different measurement system.  what is going on here?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on October 18, 2013, 11:19:55 AM
The 1989 publication says the "bolding" is done by adding 20% to the FHWA stroke width.

how are they saying 20%, and we came up with 10/11%?  that is a huge discrepancy which implies to me a different measurement system.  what is going on here?

I accept entire responsibility for the discrepancy.  For quite a long time, before I actually went to my camera copy of the 1989 publication to double-check, I was under the impression that the stroke-width-to-height ratios for FHWA Series E and E Modified were 0.18 and 0.20 respectively.  0.20/0.18 = 1.11111 = 111% = 11% increase.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on October 18, 2013, 12:02:53 PM
I'm still not sure how your chart works.  I've added a ratio column, which is Caltrans/FHWA - 1

SeriesCaltransFHWAratio
B0.140.125.12
C0.160.141.134
D0.180.156.153
E0.200.172.162
E Modified(None)0.20n/a
F0.220.188.17

as for my 10%, I'm not sure where I got it... for my shield designs, which require DM, I use the 1957 G26R spec, which states calls for stroke width 0.18 per inch of height.  I remember once calculating out what the stroke thickness (the stroke being the perimeter around the glyph in this case) had to be in Inkscape to modify D to the proper resultant width, and that may have been .1 of something or another, but I just plain don't recall.

in any case, it's not good that we both independently came up with something quite wrong.  perhaps we should perform self-flagellation.  I will close my eyes and imagine highway signs in Arialveticverstesk for the next 10 minutes.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on October 18, 2013, 01:19:35 PM
I'm still not sure how your chart works.  I've added a ratio column, which is Caltrans/FHWA - 1

SeriesCaltransFHWAratio
B0.140.125.12
C0.160.141.134
D0.180.156.153
E0.200.172.162
E Modified(None)0.20n/a
F0.220.188.17

I checked your values and, yes, it looks like the chart (which is typed straight from the 1989 publication) disagrees with the part in the text where it says the Caltrans stroke is obtained by adding 20% to the FHWA stroke for the same series.

Quote
in any case, it's not good that we both independently came up with something quite wrong.  perhaps we should perform self-flagellation.  I will close my eyes and imagine highway signs in Arialveticverstesk for the next 10 minutes.

I don't see a lot of value in taking the whips, flails, cilices, etc. out of the closet when a source that is supposed to be authoritative is internally inconsistent.  (This is not without precedent where Caltrans documentation is concerned--I remember a 1958 edition of the traffic manual that said to use Series D with lowercase at a 3:2 height ratio, and was accompanied by art showing Series E used instead.)  And, anyway, ten minutes of imaging Arialveticverstesk displays sounds like an excellent recipe for PTSD.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on October 18, 2013, 02:19:07 PM
I checked your values and, yes, it looks like the chart (which is typed straight from the 1989 publication) disagrees with the part in the text where it says the Caltrans stroke is obtained by adding 20% to the FHWA stroke for the same series.

not unfamiliar when dealing with Cal Div Hwys.  there is a good reason why there are so many different variants of shields from the ~1956-1964 era.  sometimes it really is someone following "a little bit of spec A, a little bit of spec B", not realizing that the two specs are different (say, mixing the 1956 shield shape with the 1957 materials reference, yielding an extra pointy CA spade with retroreflective sheeting).  other times, the spec itself is internally inconsistent.

Quote
I don't see a lot of value in taking the whips, flails, cilices, etc. out of the closet when a source that is supposed to be authoritative is internally inconsistent.

as punishment, we will have to render the design based on lengths and radii.

Mexico's 1986 route marker cutout is undrawable, as is Series A glyph "8" as specified in a 1966 manual I've got.  the shield generator "8" is the result of me doing the best I could with the 1966, and copying a field photograph to eyeball the rest.

Quote
(This is not without precedent where Caltrans documentation is concerned--I remember a 1958 edition of the traffic manual that said to use Series D with lowercase at a 3:2 height ratio, and was accompanied by art showing Series E used instead.)  And, anyway, ten minutes of imaging Arialveticverstesk displays sounds like an excellent recipe for PTSD.

indeed, the 1963 US shield spec has this issue.  if you follow the lengths and radii, you get a markedly different shield than what is drawn.  they copied the 1957 drawing unchanged, and changed the lengths and radii.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: aswnl on October 18, 2013, 03:45:37 PM
It also seems to me that by making Dd available to sign designers, the Rijkwaterstaat (if that is what the Dutch equivalent to FHWA is still called) has set up the same trap as FHWA has done in the 2003 and 2009 editions of the MUTCD, which is to allow the widespread use of typefaces of lower intrinsic legibility.  Dd, however well designed it is, is too condensed to match Ee for legibility.  The conservative approach to design is therefore whenever possible to avoid substituting Dd for Ee, and when Dd must be used, to make some compensating alteration in the sign design--such as dropping one or more destinations--to ensure motorists' task loads are not increased.
No, that's not the case. Dd/DM will replace Uu, but not Ee/EM. On freeways Ee will be used in the future. Dd/DM is only to be used in NL as a replacement of kerned Ee/EM.

Kerned Ee/EM is what you can see here for the destination "Holten-Oost".  (Oost=East).
(http://bewegwijzering.autosnelwegen.nl/images/001L/001L-27-0-30-03-Markelo.jpg)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on October 18, 2013, 03:49:13 PM
(It's called "gekernd Ee) in Dutch, I don't know the proper English term)

"kerned".  the English verb "to kern" is a typographic term that means to diminish the spacing between letters.  I'm assuming Dutch has a verb "kern" as well, as "gekernd" looks like a regular past participle form of it.

"kerned Ee" is a perfectly valid translation, as it is more specific than "condensed Ee".  condensation may be done the proper way, via kerning, or it could be done the improper way with a Photoshop horizontal scaling.    :ded:
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: 1995hoo on October 18, 2013, 04:37:50 PM
A good way to visualize kerning is to picture the letter combination "VA." Without kerning, the right end of the "V" (the top of the right-hand slant, for lack of a better term) will line up just even with the far left tip of the left "foot" of the "A." If you're using a serif font (Times New Roman being the one most familiar to most people on a daily basis) the effect is a bit more pronounced because it is the tip of the serif that determines where the "V" ends and the "A" begins. Kerning pushes the letters closer together, so to speak—the leftmost serif at the bottom of the "A" can begin in the space underneath the rightmost serif at the top of the "V."

Some font designers will incorporate some amount of kerning by default in proportionally-spaced fonts to avoid the ugly problem that occurs with too much white space. Alternatively, some software will automatically apply kerning. Microsoft Word 2010 applies it by default to proportionally-spaced fonts sized to 10-point or larger. In the sample below (Times New Roman 48-point), the bottom line uses Word's default kerning and the top line uses no kerning. The sample on the right is exactly the same text (after I created the image I copied the sample to the right of itself) and I've drawn a line to illustrate the point.

(http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c378/1995hoo/Kerning_zps6e17f770.png)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: NE2 on October 18, 2013, 04:46:35 PM
(http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c378/1995hoo/Kerning_zps6e17f770.png)
German fail trombone?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: 1995hoo on October 18, 2013, 04:57:10 PM
(http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c378/1995hoo/Kerning_zps6e17f770.png)
German fail trombone?

I assume there's some obvious joke I'm missing there. I have no idea what point you're making!
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: NE2 on October 18, 2013, 05:03:17 PM
I assume there's some obvious joke I'm missing there. I have no idea what point you're making!
My foray into the world of memes quickly ended in failure.

http://www.sadtrombone.com/?play=true
and Germans pronounce W like V.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: 1995hoo on October 18, 2013, 05:09:45 PM
I assume there's some obvious joke I'm missing there. I have no idea what point you're making!
My foray into the world of memes quickly ended in failure.

http://www.sadtrombone.com/?play=true
and Germans pronounce W like V.

Ah. The pronunciation part I knew (the one time I visited Germany I had to struggle not to snigger at other Americans who kept sounding out German names with our "W" sound), but I wouldn't have gotten the trombone part.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Alps on October 21, 2013, 08:46:40 PM
I actually like Uu.

... *runs away*
Never gonna give Uu up
Never gonna let Uu down
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on March 24, 2014, 11:33:39 PM
Call me Ishmael!  I found a wonderful White Whale on the west side of Houston on south bound Texas State Highway 99 (Grand Parkway)  One of the very few instances of Highway Gothic and Clearview on the same sign.  I recently also found one in San Antonio but didn't get photographic evidence.

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-5ExOZAqTYvQ/UzD3EqYxZDI/AAAAAAAABEA/l4iWWlks72g/s800/DSCN1207.JPG)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on March 25, 2014, 01:53:20 PM
Before I read this thread, I was no fan of the federal government and its bureaucracies. After reading it, I am even less so. Do we really need to have the federal government dictating what font you can or cannot use on highway signs? Geez, give us a national guideline and let each state or jurisdiction set its own standards. Then let the scientists determine which is the most effective. There are plenty of college PhD candidates who need theses.

I personally prefer Clearview over Highway Gothic. Not that there is anything wrong with Highway Gothic; it just evokes a "20th-century" emotion from me. Probably because I work in tech and see fonts like that all the time.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: getemngo on March 25, 2014, 02:15:14 PM
ethanhopkin14, I see your sign and raise you this:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-3Dd1zHehU8c/UzHHTmcnaHI/AAAAAAAAAHY/BYCtQjGdm5Q/s640/08-28-09_1611.jpg)

Both typefaces on the same line. Near Marquette, Michigan, if I'm not mistaken.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on March 25, 2014, 02:32:47 PM
ethanhopkin14, I see your sign and raise you this:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-3Dd1zHehU8c/UzHHTmcnaHI/AAAAAAAAAHY/BYCtQjGdm5Q/s640/08-28-09_1611.jpg)

Both typefaces on the same line. Near Marquette, Michigan, if I'm not mistaken.

Dang!!  That's awesome. The one in San Antonio I found at first I thought it was button copy and Clearview together, but it was not so. That's the only thing I can think of that can top that pictures
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jeffandnicole on March 25, 2014, 03:04:36 PM
...Do we really need to have the federal government dictating what font you can or cannot use on highway signs? ...

Yes.

In fact, they already let states have a choice.  It's not the variations one can have using MS Word, but there are a few variations.  Otherwise, standards are necessary, not only for font, but size, spacing, etc.  There's a 100+ page thread on bad signage where one can see numerous examples of what happens when those standards aren't followed.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: hbelkins on March 25, 2014, 03:19:59 PM
...Do we really need to have the federal government dictating what font you can or cannot use on highway signs? ...

Yes.

In fact, they already let states have a choice.  It's not the variations one can have using MS Word, but there are a few variations.  Otherwise, standards are necessary, not only for font, but size, spacing, etc.  There's a 100+ page thread on bad signage where one can see numerous examples of what happens when those standards aren't followed.

Of course, I'm in disagreement with your opinion, and have stated so numerous times. "Bad" signage is often only bad in the eye of the beholder, and not because it violates some standard such as using a font other than the FHWA font.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Brandon on March 25, 2014, 03:20:27 PM
ethanhopkin14, I see your sign and raise you this:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-3Dd1zHehU8c/UzHHTmcnaHI/AAAAAAAAAHY/BYCtQjGdm5Q/s640/08-28-09_1611.jpg)

Both typefaces on the same line. Near Marquette, Michigan, if I'm not mistaken.

Did the MDOT Superior Region just get bored one day, or did they get told by Lansing to change mid-sign?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: getemngo on March 25, 2014, 03:29:15 PM
Did the MDOT Superior Region just get bored one day, or did they get told by Lansing to change mid-sign?

I'm not sure if it matters, because that's not all that's weird about this sign. It's for a non-motorized trail, not a road, so it shouldn't even be green. My notes say that the sign in the other direction is brown and white, all caps, and in Highway Gothic.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PurdueBill on March 25, 2014, 08:02:37 PM
Speaking of FHWA and Clearview together, there are several signs in Solon, Ohio on US 422 where the tabs with added exit numbers are in Clearview except for one numeral.

This is one of the clearer views (http://goo.gl/maps/SlwcP); I will have to bring a camera by next time I'm up that way.  EXIT and numeral 1 in Clearview; numeral 6 in FHWA.  Very weird.  (Original signs didn't have exit numbers, but ODOT is adding them to all expressway type roads now.  Gore signs on US 422 do not have numbers though.)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: hbelkins on March 25, 2014, 10:46:53 PM
Spotted this past weekend in Richmond, Va.:

(https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/t1.0-9/p180x540/10154447_10152305416221469_595494563_n.jpg)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: formulanone on March 26, 2014, 08:45:46 AM
Interestingly, the names on top of the revamped service plazas on the Florida's Turnpike are in Clearview. It looks alright...just not so much on a sign.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: roadfro on March 29, 2014, 05:58:13 AM
Another hybrid: I-580/US 395 NB approaching Exit 65 Plumb Lane / Reno-Tahoe Airport (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Reno,+NV&hl=en&ll=39.499939,-119.783303&spn=0.004595,0.005681&sll=42.526932,-70.909895&sspn=0.00156,0.00284&oq=Reno&t=h&hnear=Reno,+Washoe+County,+Nevada&z=18&layer=c&cbll=39.50018,-119.783213&panoid=hbIuO6qJwJPIu8E4u-soww&cbp=12,61.83,,1,1.53)

Interesting thing about this one is that it doesn't involve greenout--a brand new sign was installed with one line of text in standard FHWA font and the rest in Clearview. This sign was installed with the US 395 NB widening project about 3-4 years ago, in which all new signs on the project were done in Clearview--Nevada's first, and still only Clearview BGS signing.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: CrystalWalrein on March 29, 2014, 08:36:45 PM
Another hybrid: I-580/US 395 NB approaching Exit 65 Plumb Lane / Reno-Tahoe Airport (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Reno,+NV&hl=en&ll=39.499939,-119.783303&spn=0.004595,0.005681&sll=42.526932,-70.909895&sspn=0.00156,0.00284&oq=Reno&t=h&hnear=Reno,+Washoe+County,+Nevada&z=18&layer=c&cbll=39.50018,-119.783213&panoid=hbIuO6qJwJPIu8E4u-soww&cbp=12,61.83,,1,1.53)

Interesting thing about this one is that it doesn't involve greenout--a brand new sign was installed with one line of text in standard FHWA font and the rest in Clearview. This sign was installed with the US 395 NB widening project about 3-4 years ago, in which all new signs on the project were done in Clearview--Nevada's first, and still only Clearview BGS signing.

Even here all the numerals remain in FHWA fonts, even though all-caps text is still set in Clearview. Pick one or the other in the same line of text, I say.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: roadfro on March 29, 2014, 09:10:56 PM
Another hybrid: I-580/US 395 NB approaching Exit 65 Plumb Lane / Reno-Tahoe Airport (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Reno,+NV&hl=en&ll=39.499939,-119.783303&spn=0.004595,0.005681&sll=42.526932,-70.909895&sspn=0.00156,0.00284&oq=Reno&t=h&hnear=Reno,+Washoe+County,+Nevada&z=18&layer=c&cbll=39.50018,-119.783213&panoid=hbIuO6qJwJPIu8E4u-soww&cbp=12,61.83,,1,1.53)

Interesting thing about this one is that it doesn't involve greenout--a brand new sign was installed with one line of text in standard FHWA font and the rest in Clearview. This sign was installed with the US 395 NB widening project about 3-4 years ago, in which all new signs on the project were done in Clearview--Nevada's first, and still only Clearview BGS signing.

Even here all the numerals remain in FHWA fonts, even though all-caps text is still set in Clearview. Pick one or the other in the same line of text, I say.

There's no numerals in the sign I linked... :confused:

Other signs in this project do have numbers and have numbers in FHWA fonts (at least to the best of my recollection from other discussions).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: TEG24601 on March 30, 2014, 01:44:30 PM
I appreciate both Clearview and FHWA.  However, I have spent a lot of Time in Michigan, where they spent most of the 2000's switching to Clearview, and I can say a few things.


I find that I can read Clearview signs at a greater distance than FHWA signs.  Because of this, I find that Clearview is easier to read at 70+ MPH.  I have no issues with Clearview numbers, as they simply exaggerate the features of the numbers anyway (except the I-69 sign looks explicit).  I can understand peoples dislike of the Clearview numbers, but it doesn't bother me.  FHWA is very difficult to read at 80 MPH, unless the size is larger, which would require larger signs.


Edit - I originally wrote Freeway Gothic instead of FHWA, mainly because the font pack I have calls the FHWA fonts Freeway Gothic.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on March 30, 2014, 02:06:51 PM
Freeway Gothic
:confused:
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vdeane on March 30, 2014, 02:26:45 PM
Freeway Gothic is used on white on black freeway signs.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on March 30, 2014, 02:34:40 PM
Freeway Gothic (http://www.dafont.com/freeway-gothic.font)
Those symbols. (http://www.smileyvault.com/albums/userpics/10404/vomit-smiley-015.gif)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: TEG24601 on March 30, 2014, 04:55:25 PM
You know what I mean.  The FHWA fonts.  The Font pack I have on my Mac calls them "Freeway Gothic (A)", etc.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on March 30, 2014, 05:22:16 PM
Freeway Gothic (http://www.dafont.com/freeway-gothic.font)
Those symbols. (http://www.smileyvault.com/albums/userpics/10404/vomit-smiley-015.gif)

If I ever feel the need to curse at a highway sign, I know which font to use.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: 1995hoo on April 03, 2014, 03:39:35 PM
Clearview v. Gothic. For those unfamiliar with the road, the sign on the left is over the reversible center carriageway.

(http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c378/1995hoo/Road%20sign%20pictures/US-1Woodbridgeexit_zps90c18672.png)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Brandon on April 03, 2014, 04:39:20 PM
^^ To my eyes, there is no discernible difference in legibility.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: hbelkins on April 03, 2014, 10:27:42 PM
Clearview v. Gothic. For those unfamiliar with the road, the sign on the left is over the reversible center carriageway.

(http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c378/1995hoo/Road%20sign%20pictures/US-1Woodbridgeexit_zps90c18672.png)

Heh. I got a picture of that very same sign assembly a couple of weeks ago and noted that one had Clearview and one didn't.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 23, 2014, 05:26:53 PM
I'll offer my 2¢ on the topic since I am a graphic designer that does most of his work designing commercial signs, billboards, etc. for businesses. I'm still fairly new at this forum, so I had to read through this thread about Clearview from page 1.

A lot of what I'm seeing discussed about Clearview vs Series 2000 Gothic honestly just comes down to a matter of taste. The old "highway gothic" typeface has a nostalgic feel to it. Some people think it looks dated. Clearview looks like a highway typeface, but has a more contemporary appearance. Some people think it looks ugly.

I like how Clearview looks in some uses. I own a license for both the "W" and "B" series typefaces and have used the fonts on things like wayfinding signs, labels on map illustrations and a variety of other things with a technical-informative feel to them.

I think the FHWA jumped the gun at least in some regard to specifying new typefaces for use on traffic signs, particularly highway signs. They had an opportunity, via OpenType font technology, to clear up some glaring problems with highway lettering (due in part to new MUTCD rules) -which could have been included in the Clearview font files. But that didn't happen. And I suspect that's because they didn't get input from other professional type designers and type experts about it.

OpenType allows for vastly expanded character sets. Series 2000 has a minimal character set. Clearview has a larger, but still fairly basic, Latin-only character set (including accented characters) good for North America and most of Western Europe. It doesn't have extra alphabets to cover Greek, Cyrillic or other character ranges like one often sees in most new commercial typefaces.

Highway signs use fake large/small capital arrangements on cardinal directions and anything else requiring a large cap-small cap treatment. The larger capital letter has a letter stroke thicker than the smaller capital letters to the right of it. That looks lousy. A typeface with true small capitals will have uniform, consistent looking letter strokes. Clearview should have had a "SC" set embedded in the font files and accessible to graphics applications that are fully OpenType capable.

Clearview does have a complete fraction set, but it is set up more to look good rather than conform to how sign designers and fabricators spec and install fraction numerals on highway signs. The fraction slash falls below the base line and extends above the "M" height line of the capital letters. That's standard for most typefaces. A highway sign fraction slash is supposed to be the same height as a capital letter. Clearview's superscript and subscript numerals rise above the M height line and fall below the base line. This approach is very standard and even recommended for most commercial typefaces seen in print or on computer screens. But you can't numerally call out the placement of those numbers on a highway sign design plan sheet. Highway sign designers have had to create their own clip art files of corrected fractions to put in place of Clearview's stock fractions. OpenType could have solved this fractions problem through extended character sets and OTF programming.

Whenever I'm buying a new typeface or typeface family I look carefully at what OTF features are included within the font files. Above all else the typeface has to look good and be useful, but more OpenType features that are included will make the typeface even more useful. I look for lots of alternate characters in any script typeface. I want true small cap character sets in most any sans or serif type family (although it's not a total deal breaker if the font looks good enough). The more alphabets and diacritics that are included will make it cover far more non-English words.

I have a feeling we'll be facing another type change for highway signs in the coming years over this issue. I wouldn't be surprised if companies like Google got involved with it. Afterall, Google is doing a lot of work developing open source type families.

Things could eventually go in another direction too: cars and portable devices become sophisticated enough and so aware of their location the highway signs are no longer needed. That would be a little disappointing to me in one respect since the big green signs are part of what makes a super highway look like a superhighway.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PHLBOS on April 24, 2014, 09:20:47 AM
Things could eventually go in another direction too: cars and portable devices become sophisticated enough and so aware of their location the highway signs are no longer needed. That would be a little disappointing to me in one respect since the big green signs are part of what makes a super highway look like a superhighway.
Several comments regarding the above:

1.  Not everyone owns (nor will own) a new car equipped w/such (still option on most models today) nor have an aftermarket portable device.  I, for one, fall in this category.

2.  Should such a system crap out or go dead on a car (example: Ford's MyTouch freeze-ups); one would be up sh*t creek without the presence of signs. 

3.  I've seen more users making mistakes (some of them either costly or near-fatal (last year's bus collision w/a low overpass along Soldiers Field Road in Boston)) w/those devices than without them; note my signature below.

4.  I work in a firm whose clients include several DOTs & road agencies as clients (PennDOT, PTC, NJDOT, NJTA, DelDOT being several examples); and I have never heard of any plans to eliminate BGS' and the like it is my understanding that those aren't going anywhere, anytime soon.

5.  Personal prediction/speculation: I believe there will eventually be some sort of a push-back from either consumers or more likely law enforcement regarding the over-dependence on these devices and/or these devices causing more distracted-driving-related issues.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 24, 2014, 02:52:30 PM
I don't think in-dash navigation systems will disappear, although I think they're a costly add-on to vehicles. Google Maps in my Android phone is just as good, if not better.

Car manufacturers are actively working on cars that drive themselves. A few different cars available today can parallel park automatically. While the scenario of self driving cars seems scary in certain respects, what we're dealing with today is every bit as scary with legions of distracted drivers not keeping their eyes on the road. It could be at least another 10 or 20 years before self driving capable cars are available to the public. But such cars will be in widespread use sometime in the future. By that time if traffic signs are still around they probably won't be quite so big and conspicuous.

Highway signs are pretty expensive to build, especially the overhead BGS variety. The materials are not cheap at all. Considering how much these signs cost and the purpose the signs are serving to the public one would think greater levels of sophistication and quality control would go into their designs and sign panel fabrication.

Honestly the typefaces used on highway signs should be every bit as advanced as some of the fonts I use in making signs for businesses. The FHWA should not have pushed that new large capital rule on cardinal directions if none of the highway fonts were designed to handle it correctly. The current implementation only looks stupid. If Clearview Highway and Series Gothic 2000 were marketed to mainstream graphic designers they would fail miserably in terms of sales due to so many of the features they lack.

There is no shortage of ugly, erroneous traffic signs in use along streets & highways today. The traffic sign errors thread is 111 pages long and probably could be hundreds of pages long if it tried to catalog every traffic sign goof in the United States.

Badly designed, badly fabricated traffic signs are protected to some degree by the bureaucracy that governs them. They're immune from sign ordinances that affect commercial signs for businesses. If a state agency installs a big green sign that turns out to be a big panel of eye pollution there's really not much an average person can do. His complaints will likely be ignored or he'll get back an excuse that a certified professional engineer designed the sign and that makes it correct. It doesn't matter to me if a bad sign was designed by a highly experienced P.E. or a 20 year old amateur, a bad sign is still a bad sign.

I try to do as good as job as I can with designing signs for commercial businesses. I don't want to slough off something ugly I'm gonna have to see next to the street for the next 10-20 years. I don't want to inspire citizens and city council members to draft anti-signs ordinances that greatly limit what I can do. It's in my best interest to do a good job.

Traffic signs are vital to streets and highways. They're necessary whether they look nice or hideous. But technology is slowly making them less necessary. Highway sign fabricators probably don't have to worry about losing any work any time very soon. But if they want the work to continue flowing into the shop 20 years from now when auto piloted cars are becoming the next big thing they better start doing a better job. Or voters are going to see those big green signs as a cost that can be cut.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on April 24, 2014, 03:35:44 PM
A few notes on your post...
I think the FHWA jumped the gun at least in some regard to specifying new typefaces for use on traffic signs, particularly highway signs. They had an opportunity, via OpenType font technology, to clear up some glaring problems with highway lettering (due in part to new MUTCD rules) -which could have been included in the Clearview font files. But that didn't happen. And I suspect that's because they didn't get input from other professional type designers and type experts about it.

FHWA didn't actually develop Clearview. It was developed by a commercial font designer, with some research to improve it done by university transportation research teams in Texas and Pennsylvania. So really, the OpenType features you mention should be present. That being said, I don't know how useful they would be. I don't know what the software stack used for commercial sign work looks like, but highway signs aren't done up in Illustrator—they use specialized CAD programs (usually SignCAD or GuidSIGN, the latter of which is used by Oklahoma), which may not support OpenType features.

FHWA still has not officially given its stamp of approval to Clearview—they refused to endorse it in the 2009 MUTCD—but instead agencies must request an "interim approval" clearing them to experiment with the typeface. FHWA can revoke that approval at any time, which might happen if studies showing Clearview's benefits to be negligible continue to be published.

Quote
OpenType allows for vastly expanded character sets. Series 2000 has a minimal character set. Clearview has a larger, but still fairly basic, Latin-only character set (including accented characters) good for North America and most of Western Europe. It doesn't have extra alphabets to cover Greek, Cyrillic or other character ranges like one often sees in most new commercial typefaces.

This is not necessarily a feature of OpenType; TrueType fonts can, to my knowledge, support any number of glyphs. The limitations are due to character set (not much of an issue now that we have Unicode everywhere) and the patience of the font designer to draw up all of the glyphs. It is the latter that is responsible for the limited number of glyphs in FHWA Series font implementations. The font as we know it today was first published circa 1948 as a set of outlines in a hard-copy Standard Highway Signs book. At the time, little thought was given to anything not on an English typewriter, and had there been, chances are it would have been rejected for space reasons anyway. Everything being non-computerized then gave a bit of flexibility to the typeface—rather than designing a É glyph, you could take the basic Latin E and put an apostrophe over it at an appropriate angle. Since the typeface was designed for road signs, there was little demand for most of those characters anyway—for legibility reasons, punctuation is usually omitted, and accents and tildes are typically dropped.

Quote
Highway signs use fake large/small capital arrangements on cardinal directions and anything else requiring a large cap-small cap treatment. The larger capital letter has a letter stroke thicker than the smaller capital letters to the right of it. That looks lousy. A typeface with true small capitals will have uniform, consistent looking letter strokes. Clearview should have had a "SC" set embedded in the font files and accessible to graphics applications that are fully OpenType capable.

I agree that this is somewhat of a problem, made more prevalent by the simplicity of scaling characters up or down by computer. This seemed to be less of an issue when everything was designed and set by hand; it is much less noticeable on older Kansas signage using demountable copy characters.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PHLBOS on April 24, 2014, 03:41:04 PM
By that time if traffic signs are still around they probably won't be quite so big and conspicuous.
You are aware that highway signs are as large as they are due to the necessity of being read from a distance as well as travelling at higher rates of speeds than non-highways.  One old Rand McNally write-up (circa 1970) on the interstate system indicated a typical driver going 65-to-70 mph has only about 11 seconds to read & react to a given BGS' messages.

As far as everything heading towards automation is concerned; while some of your fore-mentioned items are indeed along the way, public reaction to them is still unknown yet.  Case-and-point; the public flat out rejected talking cars when such were offered during the 1980s.  Personally, I could see similar reaction towards driver-less cars.  While self-parking is available on some car models; such automation is done for only a short period of time (a few minutes) and at a significantly lower operating speed.  It's not like the self-park feature is operating at 70 mph of a couple of hours or even a half-hour.  Big difference between that and any self-driving feature being proposed.

Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on April 24, 2014, 04:56:00 PM
You are aware that highway signs are as large as they are due to the necessity of being read from a distance as well as travelling at higher rates of speeds than non-highways.  One old Rand McNally write-up (circa 1970) on the interstate system indicated a typical driver going 65-to-70 mph has only about 11 seconds to read & react to a given BGS' messages.

There is some room for devil's advocacy here, though.  The MUTCD specifies a minimum capital letter height of 6" for conventional roads, which in the US can be highways with speed limits of up to 75 MPH.  The MUTCD also specifies a minimum capital letter height (for primary destination legends on action signs) of 16" for freeways, which can have speed limits as low as 50 MPH.  We have had formulas to relate sign lettering size to word count, lateral placement, and operating speed since the late 1930's when T.W. Forbes developed them, but even 70 years later the MUTCD standards are not particularly well rationalized.

Quote
As far as everything heading towards automation is concerned; while some of your fore-mentioned items are indeed along the way, public reaction to them is still unknown yet.  Case in point:  the public flat out rejected talking cars when such were offered during the 1980s.  Personally, I could see similar reaction towards driver-less cars.  While self-parking is available on some car models; such automation is done for only a short period of time (a few minutes) and at a significantly lower operating speed.  It's not like the self-park feature is operating at 70 mph of a couple of hours or even a half-hour.  Big difference between that and any self-driving feature being proposed.

I am much more sanguine about the potential for automation.  Google has been developing self-driving cars which have accumulated hundreds of thousands of miles under automatic operation with no crashes other than those that have occurred as a result of a human driver overriding the system and then making a mistake.  The current focus of development is on getting the self-driving system past the "six sigma" point (in this case, collisions no more frequent than one per several million miles), at which point it will likely be rolled out to production and states other than California and Nevada will be forced to consider the adjustments to legal norms that then become necessary.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 25, 2014, 12:09:16 AM
Quote from: Scott5114
FHWA didn't actually develop Clearview. It was developed by a commercial font designer, with some research to improve it done by university transportation research teams in Texas and Pennsylvania. So really, the OpenType features you mention should be present. That being said, I don't know how useful they would be. I don't know what the software stack used for commercial sign work looks like, but highway signs aren't done up in Illustrator—they use specialized CAD programs (usually SignCAD or GuidSIGN, the latter of which is used by Oklahoma), which may not support OpenType features.

I didn't say the FHWA developed Clearview, or even Series 2000 Gothic. However, the FHWA was the organization that had to evaluate and provide the go-ahead for those typefaces (the interim use of Clearview on positive contrast legends and Series 2000 Gothic for everything). The FHWA missed some things.

OpenType has been around since the late 1990s. Many commercial typefaces have been re-worked, expanded in terms of features and character sets and re-generated in OpenType. The folks at the FHWA should have been aware of this. And maybe they were, but they obviously didn't think the unique features of OpenType were important enough to push into the features of highway sign typefaces.

SignCAD and GuidSign are only geared to support TrueType and specifically the Series Gothic and Clearview type families. Their main attraction is all the templates, libraries, etc. that speed up highway sign fabrication. On the fundamental object creation and editing level both applications are very primitive compared to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW. Sorry if I offend anyone with that, but if those applications actually beat Illustrator and Corel in terms of creative features and object editing accuracy the vendors selling SignCAD and GuidSign would be trying to sell their applications to a lot more than just people fabricating traffic signs.

Our sign shop uses FlexiCloud and EnRoute. Flexi at least can support OpenType. It also supports different object drawing modes, like Bezier curves from Illustrator or CorelDRAW artwork, arc & line based artwork from AutoCAD and spline-based lines from other programs. It has had to support all those object drawing modes due in part of gobbling up other sign making software companies. We can open our 1990's era CASmate sign files in Flexi without a hitch. Flexi has an incredibly large "art board," big enough to hold entire building elevations at full size without any problem. Still, for creative capabilities, I and the other designers in my shop, use Illustrator and Corel for most of the design work. Trade specific applications like Flexi, Roland VersaWorks and EnRoute are used to output jobs for specific materials. I'm not going to run a vinyl cutter from Illustrator when Flexi can do a better job of it. Same goes for EnRoute with routing tables or VersaWorks for controlling a large format printer.

Quote from: Scott5114
This is not necessarily a feature of OpenType; TrueType fonts can, to my knowledge, support any number of glyphs. The limitations are due to character set (not much of an issue now that we have Unicode everywhere) and the patience of the font designer to draw up all of the glyphs. It is the latter that is responsible for the limited number of glyphs in FHWA Series font implementations. The font as we know it today was first published circa 1948 as a set of outlines in a hard-copy Standard Highway Signs book. At the time, little thought was given to anything not on an English typewriter, and had there been, chances are it would have been rejected for space reasons anyway. Everything being non-computerized then gave a bit of flexibility to the typeface—rather than designing a É glyph, you could take the basic Latin E and put an apostrophe over it at an appropriate angle. Since the typeface was designed for road signs, there was little demand for most of those characters anyway—for legibility reasons, punctuation is usually omitted, and accents and tildes are typically dropped.

When the FHWA started mandating things in recent MUTCD editions, like a large capital for all caps cardinal directions they were mandating something that either required the use of a true small capitals typeface or the use of an OpenType based font that contained both standard uppercase/lowercase character sets AND small capitals character sets. The FHWA did neither. The FHWA may believe their new rule on how cardinal directions are drawn is more legible, but I can say, with authority, the end results look bad. The old method (caps all the same size) looked better. The FHWA shouldn't be dictating large/small caps treatments on traffic signs if the fonts can't correctly support it.

Clearview has a somewhat expanded character set compared to stock 1990's era TrueType fonts. Terminal Design even advertises the font files as being OpenType. But when I purchased my W and B series fonts several years ago the files I downloaded were TrueType font files, not OpenType. They make you choose a specific platform, Mac or PC. True OTF fonts are cross-platform compatible. Our shop uses Windows-based PCs by the way.

SignCAD boasts how it has external spacing tables for Series Gothic fonts, rather than relying on the level of built in kerning of the font files. Honestly, that's a kludge. OpenType fonts can contain multiple spacing tables and do so with perfect accuracy. A lot of top of the line OTF type families have font files with thousands upon thousands of kerning pairs and multiple spacing tables, like standard, tabulature and lining figures spacing. On top of that, applications like Adobe Illustrator and InDesign have their own optical spacing systems that can override the built in features of a font file if you prefer. It works pretty well, especially on numerals. I simply cannot stand seeing numerals displayed on signs that aren't spaced properly. Most applications will default numeral spacing to column based spacing for stuff like math equations and tables. That kind of spacing looks horrible if you're just typing out a phone number, date, address or something else with numerals in display copy or body copy.

Quote from: PHLBOS
You are aware that highway signs are as large as they are due to the necessity of being read from a distance as well as travelling at higher rates of speeds than non-highways.

Yes, I am keenly aware of this thing. I deal with customers trying to make their business signs cheaper by shrinking the signs smaller and making all the copy smaller. Or they get attached to some pretty wedding script typeface somebody put on their business card, "make my sign with this pretty font!" I have to convince them, politely, they're making ill-informed choices that threaten to make their signs absolutely useless. Honestly, I deal with a lot more difficulties in maintaining sign legibility than any traffic engineer has to deal with.

Nevertheless, if automation takes over much of the control on the roads, and anybody can instantly tell what street they're on anyway by way of other methods (phones, computers, HUDs on the windshield, etc.) signs are going to become less and less necessary.

I'm already worrying a bit about this with my own job. And for commercial businesses, their store front signs are really their most important marketing tool by far.

Quote from: PHLBOS
As far as everything heading towards automation is concerned; while some of your fore-mentioned items are indeed along the way, public reaction to them is still unknown yet.  Case-and-point; the public flat out rejected talking cars when such were offered during the 1980s.

Today millions of smart phone users have their phones talking to them, giving them driving directions, in their cars. Higher priced in-dash navigation systems do the same thing. Many new cars have back-up cameras and alarms that sound when you're backing too close to something, even a street curb. Drivers are slowly yielding over control of their cars more and more to computers. Sheesh, you practically can't do any work on a new car without hooking it up to a computer.

Regarding public reaction to automation, I think they'll go right along with it if the feature is sold right. Honestly, I wouldn't mind being able to put my truck into "auto-pilot" for at least 400 miles of the 600 miles I drive between Oklahoma and Colorado to visit family. I wouldn't mind climbing into my vehicle and snoozing or watching movies while the vehicle chauffeured me there. I could leave any hour of the evening and not worry about falling asleep behind the wheel.

Legal issues may force more of this automation to take control. Traffic accidents cost the country many billions of dollars every year. If millions of cars were driving automatically they would be observing speed limits, traffic signals and other vehicles better than us humans are managing. It could cause insurance rates to drop. Or it could make owning a manual drive only car a whole lot more expensive to insure.

When I think about this sort of thing I think about what attorneys have done to swimming pools in the United States. Pools are boring now. You can't install a diving board or even a small water slide on a swimming pool in your own back yard on your own private property without insurance companies price gouging the hell out of you. If I smack my head on a swimming pool diving board at someone else's house it's honestly only 100% my fault. Somehow lawyers made it the pool owner's fault. Lawyers are taking the fun out of everything. They'll eventually take the fun out of driving cars too.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PHLBOS on April 25, 2014, 11:00:37 AM
Sheesh, you practically can't do any work on a new car without hooking it up to a computer.
Ain't that the truth.  That's one reason why I tend to hold on to my current cars as long as I can.

Regarding public reaction to automation, I think they'll go right along with it if the feature is sold right. Honestly, I wouldn't mind being able to put my truck into "auto-pilot" for at least 400 miles of the 600 miles I drive between Oklahoma and Colorado to visit family. I wouldn't mind climbing into my vehicle and snoozing or watching movies while the vehicle chauffeured me there. I could leave any hour of the evening and not worry about falling asleep behind the wheel.
Although Auto-Pilot been used in aviation applications for decades; there's still a human control element out there known as Air Traffic Controllers dictating where flights/planes are to be positioned.  Plus, Auto-Pilot does not control take-offs & landings.  Additionally on planes equipped w/Auto-Pilot, there's always a co-pilot stationed on board in case conditions warrant a need to shut off/override the feature if the pilot isn't available at that moment.  As far as I know, planes operated by just one pilot (usually small private types) are not equipped w/an Auto-Pilot feature.

Long story short; while automation exists & has existed in aviation for some time, there's still human control elements out there.  In contrast, what's being proposed in the automotive world is automation without any human control nor override.  I'm sorry but such a utopian approach is not only scary but flat out dangerous IMHO.

If you're familiar w/the original Star Trek, there was one episode during the show's 2nd season titled The Ultimate Computer that dealt with the issues of 100% automation head-on.  IMHO, such that episode turned out to be well ahead of its time (2 key clips included below).



Legal issues may force more of this automation to take control. Traffic accidents cost the country many billions of dollars every year. If millions of cars were driving automatically they would be observing speed limits, traffic signals and other vehicles better than us humans are managing. It could cause insurance rates to drop. Or it could make owning a manual drive only car a whole lot more expensive to insure.
Again, that analysis is based on the utopian notion that everything will work properly 100% of the time.  I've already seen or read about drivers having blind faith w/their GPS devices be them in their vehicles, aftermarket models or ones on their Smart Phones and they make either the same or more mistakes than they did without using such.  While automation will take out the human/user error factor (at least those can be over-ridden) what will happen should something go wrong w/the automation itself?  Will there still be an available manual over-ride where the driver can just drive the vehicle manually should they want or need to?  If so, then signs (including BGS') will still be needed; hence, the original thread topic.

When I think about this sort of thing I think about what attorneys have done to swimming pools in the United States. Pools are boring now. You can't install a diving board or even a small water slide on a swimming pool in your own back yard on your own private property without insurance companies price gouging the hell out of you. If I smack my head on a swimming pool diving board at someone else's house it's honestly only 100% my fault. Somehow lawyers made it the pool owner's fault. Lawyers are taking the fun out of everything. They'll eventually take the fun out of driving cars too.
To a degree, they already did decades ago.  Attorneys & insurance companies played a role (they weren't the only ones, mind you) in forcing automakers (mainly the Big Three at the time) to abandon/scale back on performance to a point where muscle cars were essentially gone and the remaining pony & sports cars were virtually emasculated by the mid-1970s.  It would take decades for performance to return and even surpass those from the 60s.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 25, 2014, 01:06:36 PM
Quote from: PHLBOS
Although Auto-Pilot been used in aviation applications for decades; there's still a human control element out there known as Air Traffic Controllers dictating where flights/planes are to be positioned.  Plus, Auto-Pilot does not control take-offs & landings.  Additionally on planes equipped w/Auto-Pilot, there's always a co-pilot stationed on board in case conditions warrant a need to shut off/override the feature if the pilot isn't available at that moment.  As far as I know, planes operated by just one pilot (usually small private types) are not equipped w/an Auto-Pilot feature.

A passenger jet is a far more complex machine than an automobile. Co-pilots and air traffic controllers are necessary because the possible consequences of a plane crash are far more serious than a car crash. Aircraft take offs and landings are more complicated processes than pulling a car out of a driveway or parking it. Come to think of it, computers do a whole lot of work in controlling rocket launches.

The human element will never be entirely removed from the controls of an automobile. Cars wouldn't be very much fun at all to own if you could only be a passenger 100% of the time.

Quote
While automation will take out the human/user error factor (at least those can be over-ridden) what will happen should something go wrong w/the automation itself?

There are several technological issues that have to be overcome in order to allow thousands or millions of self-driving cars onto the roads. I'm sure the companies working on this stuff are factoring redundancy into the systems and dealing with lots of other "what if" scenarios. Like I said before, we're still at least 10-20 years from seeing these kinds of cars sold to the public.

You keep mentioning the word "utopia," but such a system could actually bring about dystopia if the data being collected by all of these network-connected self driving cars is abused. The government could start tracking people under the guise of fighting crime and then shift to political agenda. If someone is able to hack the system he could stalk anyone he chose. I worry about this kind of thing whether self driving cars become a reality or not.

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Will there still be an available manual over-ride where the driver can just drive the vehicle manually should they want or need to?  If so, then signs (including BGS') will still be needed; hence, the original thread topic.

Some of this depends on features included in future automobiles and what technology does to other devices. If cars 20 years from now have transparent heads up displays painting information across the windshield a bunch of the traffic signs wouldn't be necessary. The same thing goes for a lot of commercial signs and billboards. Commercial buildings without signs would be an architect's wet dream (most of them don't like signs btw). Right now Google Glass seems like a pretty dorky thing. Eventually some company will make that stuff fashionable.

I am definitely NOT advocating the removal of traffic signs from the roads, commercial signs from businesses and off premise signs like billboards. However, I do worry about others who are actively working at eliminating them or greatly reducing them. I really hate ugly signs. I'm as harsh a sign critic as anyone. I understand where the anti-signs folks are coming from. Unfortunately they don't understand the benefits of well designed, well built signs. So they come up with blanket bans and broad rules that don't solve the problem. They just force all the signs to be a whole lot smaller and not any better looking. In the future these people could use technological advances as an excuse to ban signs.

Anyone designing signs must know the responsibility he has with affecting the outdoor visual landscape. Unless it's a temporary thing, like a banner, the item being installed will be out there for years. If it looks terrible it's going to keep looking terrible for years until it is removed or replaced.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on April 25, 2014, 01:56:13 PM
If it looks terrible it's going to keep looking terrible for years until it is removed or replaced.

If it looks bad when it's installed, it's probably not going to look better as nature weathers it.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on April 25, 2014, 01:57:15 PM
SignCAD and GuidSign are only geared to support TrueType and specifically the Series Gothic and Clearview type families. Their main attraction is all the templates, libraries, etc. that speed up highway sign fabrication. On the fundamental object creation and editing level both applications are very primitive compared to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW. Sorry if I offend anyone with that, but if those applications actually beat Illustrator and Corel in terms of creative features and object editing accuracy the vendors selling SignCAD and GuidSign would be trying to sell their applications to a lot more than just people fabricating traffic signs.

None of the commercial traffic sign drawing packages I am aware of (and that includes not just GuidSIGN and SignCAD for US use, but also Novapoint in Norway, KeySign and SignPlot in the UK, Sherpa and Corine in France, CarDim and Lena in Spain, etc.) aspires to be or even attempts to market itself as a CorelDRAW or Illustrator killer.  They are heavily geared for the narrow production environment of traffic sign design and fabrication, and in some senses they are better suited for this purpose than the commercial vector drawing packages.  US signs are actually pretty easy to do in CorelDRAW because the design standards by and large assume rectangular format with design elements being aligned either horizontally or vertically, but (to take one example) British map-type diagrammatics would be very hard to do in CorelDRAW, though not impossible, because the official guidelines call for elements (such as stub arms) at angles, as well as rounding of inside corners.

In regard to the graphic aspects of traffic sign design:  while FHWA may very well have missed a trick by not devising true small-caps typefaces to accommodate the higher initial letter in cardinal direction words, I can understand how that could easily have been a deliberate decision.  If you expand the toolset or the design requirements, you risk creating a skills bottleneck that in turn translates into quality-assurance failures when design work is handed to people that don't know the rules well enough to follow them correctly all or nearly all of the time.

Considered as a graphic design problem, devising a traffic signing system is not about making an attractive and functional sign, or even a series of attractive and functional signs, but rather establishing a set of rules that people with no formal training in graphic design can apply in a production environment without going under a minimum level of function or visual appeal.

A large part of the problem with Clearview in traffic signing contexts is that it is too complicated for poorly trained designers to use correctly.  Clearview comes with a much larger number of do's and don'ts than the FHWA series:  don't use Clearview at all in negative contrast; don't use B Clearview in positive contrast; don't use Clearview in route shields; if you break the rules and use Clearview in negative contrast, don't use W Clearview; align adjacent lines of legend by capital letter height and baseline, not height of letters with ascenders; etc.  These are all rules that can be broken and are routinely broken by undertrained and undersupervised technicians.  In contradistinction, the FHWA series are more foolproof--no separate B and W weights, no letters with ascenders taller than capital letter height, no requirement to use a separate type family for shields, no contrast distinction, etc.

This is not to say that Clearview or another type family couldn't be successfully rolled out to US traffic signs.  But in order for this to happen, any set of sign design rules that is devised to accommodate a new type family has to take account of the resources that are likely to be available for training, quality assurance, and quality control so that the finished signs are consistently of good quality.  It is as silly to hand complicated rules to the poorly trained and expect good results as it is to put a gold watch on a window seat and expect it to be ignored by smash-and-grab thieves.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on April 25, 2014, 02:45:53 PM
Long story short; while automation exists & has existed in aviation for some time, there's still human control elements out there.  In contrast, what's being proposed in the automotive world is automation without any human control nor override.  I'm sorry but such a utopian approach is not only scary but flat out dangerous IMHO.

If you're familiar w/the original Star Trek, there was one episode during the show's 2nd season titled The Ultimate Computer that dealt with the issues of 100% automation head-on.  IMHO, such that episode turned out to be well ahead of its time (2 key clips included below).

Have you heard of Skynet? It became self aware and set off nuclear devices and killed almost everything on the face of the globe. You know what Star Trek and Skynet have in common? They're both fiction. They were made up by Gene Roddenberry and James Cameron, respectively. Computer's don't have a history of malfunctioning so severely as to lead to death of the operator. If some crazy computer invention in the 50s lead to some massive explosion at a lab in the middle of Kansas, killing everyone within 100 miles, I could see being slightly afraid of technology (i.e. technophobe). But because computers have such an impeccable record, there is no reason to promptly wag them off just because you've seen too many movies.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 25, 2014, 04:33:18 PM
Quote
US signs are actually pretty easy to do in CorelDRAW because the design standards by and large assume rectangular format with design elements being aligned either horizontally or vertically, but (to take one example) British map-type diagrammatics would be very hard to do in CorelDRAW, though not impossible, because the official guidelines call for elements (such as stub arms) at angles, as well as rounding of inside corners.

CorelDRAW has all the object editing/creation tools necessary to do that. The Fillet/Scallop/Chamfer docker will apply numerically sized operations to any corner. The application has a few different tools that allow for designing objects set at different angles. Adobe Illustrator isn't quite as well suited to technical drawing as CorelDRAW, but plug-ins like CADtools close the gap.

Quote
Considered as a graphic design problem, devising a traffic signing system is not about making an attractive and functional sign, or even a series of attractive and functional signs, but rather establishing a set of rules that people with no formal training in graphic design can apply in a production environment without going under a minimum level of function or visual appeal.

It does require at least some level of visual talent to design these signs properly & efficiently as well as be able to quickly spot mistakes. Someone with no visual talent will have a more difficult time spotting a quality control error than another person with talent who can naturally see that something just doesn't look right.

Traffic sign systems are related to wayfinding sign systems. It's very challenging to get a wayfinding sign system looking right and keeping it that way. The designs have to be clean, uncluttered and above all else consistent. If any element is improperly designed or placed it can tarnish the whole sign system. It's a very common thing for signs in hospitals, large businesses, etc. to start looking terrible if they have multiple sign companies making and replacing the signs. One sign company may care about doing the job right while another firm couldn't care less about following standards.

Quote
This is not to say that Clearview or another type family couldn't be successfully rolled out to US traffic signs.  But in order for this to happen, any set of sign design rules that is devised to accommodate a new type family has to take account of the resources that are likely to be available for training, quality assurance, and quality control so that the finished signs are consistently of good quality.  It is as silly to hand complicated rules to the poorly trained and expect good results as it is to put a gold watch on a window seat and expect it to be ignored by smash-and-grab thieves.

People who aren't qualified to design signs shouldn't be doing that kind of work. As visible as highway signs are on the landscape, and as expensive as they are, it's pretty critical to get them looking right. The companies/agencies designing and fabricating these signs should be careful about who they have doing the work.

It's not difficult at all to access OpenType characters in Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW X6 & X7. A traffic sign typeface with full character sets for upper/lower case, true small capitals, alternative glyphs and other OTF features will solve a some design headaches. Some of the descenders in Clearview are pretty big, like the leg on a lowercase "g" for instance. That creates a problem on these new street name label signs requiring mixed case. If there were alternates for that "g" it might make a big difference on what size of sign panel would be needed.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vdeane on April 25, 2014, 04:52:14 PM
Airplane autopilots are LESS sophisticated than the proposed self-driving cars are.  The reason we have air traffic control is because airplane highways don't have pavement markings, road signs, etc. and planes don't talk to each other.  Self-driving cars will have none of these problems.  Also, autopilot can take off/land the plane, it just doesn't happen because pilots need to be skilled at performing these maneuvers.

There already people salivating at the prospect of requiring all cars to be automated all the time.  Some urbanists have even proposed abolishing private ownership of automobiles entirely and turning all vehicles into taxis.  Enough people hate driving and view cars as nothing more than a device to get from point A to point B that such proposals will likely have little resistance.

The government is already moving to track everyone.  License plate cameras are already being installed for the express purpose of tracking all cars.  Most proposals for replacing the gas tax include a mileage tax collected via GPS tracking.  Many new cars come with OnStar already included and impossible to remove.  And the courts have ruled that it's perfectly legal for the police to attach a GPS tracker to someone's car as long as it's not parked in a garage or a gated mansion (and since said GPS is powered by the car's battery, they're also stealing your electricity!).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PHLBOS on April 25, 2014, 06:28:35 PM
From the  TTI study on E modified vs Clearview and "enhanced" E modified Thread (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=12128.0):

Speaking of that, it appears FHWA may do such a thing.  They are apparently not granting anymore interim approvals to use Clearview - example of such a rejection (https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.atssa.com/Resources/Interpretation+Letters/IA-5.31+%28DENIED%29+Clearview-Grays+Harbor+Co+WA-REPLY.pdf)

While the above doesn't yet address the issue regarding states that currently use Clearview; could such action occur later?  Stay tuned.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: roadman on April 25, 2014, 06:42:24 PM
From the  TTI study on E modified vs Clearview and "enhanced" E modified Thread (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=12128.0):

Speaking of that, it appears FHWA may do such a thing.  They are apparently not granting anymore interim approvals to use Clearview - example of such a rejection (https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.atssa.com/Resources/Interpretation+Letters/IA-5.31+%28DENIED%29+Clearview-Grays+Harbor+Co+WA-REPLY.pdf)

While the above doesn't yet address the issue regarding states that currently use Clearview; could such action occur later?  Stay tuned.
Given the huge backlash we saw over the new retroreflectivity rules, my prediction is that states that currently use Clearview in the proper manner won't be required to restore everything to E(m) immediately, but will be encouraged to accelerate their sign replacement programs to minimize the amount of time that Clearview legends remain.

Of course, I would expect that anything that doesn't presently conform - mainly Clearview negative contract signs (yes, I'm looking at you PA and TX) would have to be changed out as soon as possible.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on April 25, 2014, 08:09:28 PM
From the  TTI study on E modified vs Clearview and "enhanced" E modified Thread (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=12128.0):

Speaking of that, it appears FHWA may do such a thing.  They are apparently not granting anymore interim approvals to use Clearview - example of such a rejection (https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.atssa.com/Resources/Interpretation+Letters/IA-5.31+%28DENIED%29+Clearview-Grays+Harbor+Co+WA-REPLY.pdf)

While the above doesn't yet address the issue regarding states that currently use Clearview; could such action occur later?  Stay tuned.
Given the huge backlash we saw over the new retroreflectivity rules, my prediction is that states that currently use Clearview in the proper manner won't be required to restore everything to E(m) immediately, but will be encouraged to accelerate their sign replacement programs to minimize the amount of time that Clearview legends remain.

Of course, I would expect that anything that doesn't presently conform - mainly Clearview negative contract signs (yes, I'm looking at you PA and TX) would have to be changed out as soon as possible.

Unless the FHWA plans to fund those operations, the signs are staying until they wear out. The same way button copy is still around. The FHWA hasn't granted any approval for button copy in years (as far as I'm aware), but they didn't immediately force everyone to remove the signs.

With that said, if a person died as a direct result of the Clearview font, I could see the request for immediate removal. But of course, that's ridiculous.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: roadman on April 25, 2014, 08:30:57 PM
Good points Jake.  However, given how litigious our society is these days, when the Clearview death knell is finally sounded, it may behoove state DOTS to at least replace any negative contract signs they made with Clearview, which have been documented by FHWA and others to have poorer nighttime contrast than with Highway Gothic signs with Highway Gothic signs.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on April 25, 2014, 08:37:21 PM
Unless the FHWA plans to fund those operations, the signs are staying until they wear out. The same way button copy is still around. The FHWA hasn't granted any approval for button copy in years (as far as I'm aware), but they didn't immediately force everyone to remove the signs.

The two are not quite comparable since button copy was a subsystem in sign manufacturing, not a separate typeface requiring FHWA approval.  And the retroreflectivity requirement will squeeze out button copy in time.

FHWA does make funding available for sign replacement, but since this is charged against the states' federal-aid allocations and so is not "free" money, there will be a lot of resistance at the state level to changing out brand-new Clearview freeway signs even if the federal government picks up 100% of the cost under one of the safety categories.  I anticipate that if the Clearview interim approval is cancelled (as now seems probable), there will be an extended phaseout period with the intent of allowing existing Clearview signs to remain until they are life-expired.  That will not take too long since the new retroreflectivity requirements tend to shorten sign replacement cycles.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on April 25, 2014, 08:54:07 PM
Good points Jake.  However, given how litigious our society is these days, when the Clearview death knell is finally sounded, it may behoove state DOTS to at least replace any negative contract signs they made with Clearview, which have been documented by FHWA and others to have poorer nighttime contrast than with Highway Gothic signs with Highway Gothic signs.

I hate ambulance chasers. They take all the fun out of life!  :-D

Unless the FHWA plans to fund those operations, the signs are staying until they wear out. The same way button copy is still around. The FHWA hasn't granted any approval for button copy in years (as far as I'm aware), but they didn't immediately force everyone to remove the signs.

The two are not quite comparable since button copy was a subsystem in sign manufacturing, not a separate typeface requiring FHWA approval.  And the retroreflectivity requirement will squeeze out button copy in time.

Fair enough. So it's in the same category as NYSDOT's rounding off of corners (which I love)?

FHWA does make funding available for sign replacement, but since this is charged against the states' federal-aid allocations and so is not "free" money, there will be a lot of resistance at the state level to changing out brand-new Clearview freeway signs even if the federal government picks up 100% of the cost under one of the safety categories.  I anticipate that if the Clearview interim approval is cancelled (as now seems probable), there will be an extended phaseout period with the intent of allowing existing Clearview signs to remain until they are life-expired.  That will not take too long since the new retroreflectivity requirements tend to shorten sign replacement cycles.

Since the FHWA's conclusion was that the difference between FHWA Series 2000 and Clearview was negligible (right?) and that Clearview was not found to be superior to FHWA Series 2000, it would seem either font should be acceptable. Each state should be allowed to do as it wishes. I'm approaching a different subject at this point so I'll just end now.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on April 25, 2014, 09:43:25 PM
Unless the FHWA plans to fund those operations, the signs are staying until they wear out. The same way button copy is still around. The FHWA hasn't granted any approval for button copy in years (as far as I'm aware), but they didn't immediately force everyone to remove the signs.

The two are not quite comparable since button copy was a subsystem in sign manufacturing, not a separate typeface requiring FHWA approval.  And the retroreflectivity requirement will squeeze out button copy in time.

Fair enough. So it's in the same category as NYSDOT's rounding off of corners (which I love)?

Yup.

Quote
Since the FHWA's conclusion was that the difference between FHWA Series 2000 and Clearview was negligible (right?) and that Clearview was not found to be superior to FHWA Series 2000, it would seem either font should be acceptable. Each state should be allowed to do as it wishes. I'm approaching a different subject at this point so I'll just end now.

To be frank, I would not object to a Clearview "freeze" where no new authorizations would be handed out but states that already use Clearview could continue to use it, subject to the signs being designed and fabricated in an acceptable manner (i.e., no capital letter/lowercase size mismatches, no negative-contrast Clearview, no Clearview in shields, none of the hundred and one mistakes that result from handing Clearview to under-trained technicians, etc.).  But I think a phaseout is more likely because once FHWA calls time on Clearview by revoking the interim approval, it will be regarded as a dead-end technology and not even the Clearview enthusiasts among the state DOTs will want to be tied to it.  The downside risks of such a commitment are just too great compared to the rewards.  In principle a state DOT could pull a Caltrans and fend off "remove Clearview now" for a period of time, in much the same way that agency fended off the exit tab requirement for 30 years.  But it doesn't make sense for the typical DOT to do this given that signs have to be replaced more frequently owing to the retroreflectivity requirement.  It made sense for Caltrans only because its sign hardware had excess durability, its sign replacement cycles were very infrequent after 1970, and retroreflectivity requirements at the time were much more relaxed.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on April 25, 2014, 10:15:34 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/lVM7Qgv.png)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: SidS1045 on April 25, 2014, 10:38:06 PM
I would expect that anything that doesn't presently conform - mainly Clearview negative contract signs (yes, I'm looking at you PA and TX) would have to be changed out as soon as possible.

Someone ought to point that out to the Boston Transportation Department.  Despite a pointed denial in January of 2012 from the department's spokesman, and despite being specifically prohibited in the Massachusetts supplement to the MUTCD, Boston is in the midst of replacing all its street signs with...you guessed it, new signs using Clearview.  They're all over the Brighton neighborhood where I work and they're butt-ugly.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 26, 2014, 12:57:53 AM
All this griping about Clearview is coming down to matters of taste and nothing else.

I hate to break it to other road geeks, FHWA Series Gothic is nowhere near the prettiest font ever developed. Honestly, it's a fairly ugly typeface on its own. Even the cleaned up Interstate typeface re-drawn by Tobias Frere Jones, arguably one of the very best type designers in the world, is still pretty harsh looking. And it has a great deal more creative functionality built into it than the Series Gothic fonts. The attachment to Series Gothic by way of many road geeks is deeply pinned in nostalgia and resistance to change for something better.

My feeling on the topic: if the FHWA removes interim approval of Clearview Highway for positive contrast legends they need to eliminate the current version of Series Gothic as well. It is an old, outdated, obsolete typeface. it does inspire nostalgia, but it is very very deficient when it comes to complying to the rules of the latest edition of the MUTCD. There is a deep need for something a whole hell of a lot better.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on April 26, 2014, 02:02:14 AM
All this griping about Clearview is coming down to matters of taste and nothing else.

I hate to break it to other road geeks, FHWA Series Gothic is nowhere near the prettiest font ever developed. Honestly, it's a fairly ugly typeface on its own. Even the cleaned up Interstate typeface re-drawn by Tobias Frere Jones, arguably one of the very best type designers in the world, is still pretty harsh looking. And it has a great deal more creative functionality built into it than the Series Gothic fonts. The attachment to Series Gothic by way of many road geeks is deeply pinned in nostalgia and resistance to change for something better.

My feeling on the topic: if the FHWA removes interim approval of Clearview Highway for positive contrast legends they need to eliminate the current version of Series Gothic as well. It is an old, outdated, obsolete typeface. it does inspire nostalgia, but it is very very deficient when it comes to complying to the rules of the latest edition of the MUTCD. There is a deep need for something a whole hell of a lot better.

Holy shit couldn't have said it better myself. Maybe we should try Transport? It's kind of old-ish, but it's at least moderately attractive. My analogy for most of the AARoads' Clearview haters (and in turn, the FHWA) is as follows:

User has a 1975 Honda Civic
User is given a 2015 Honda Civic
User tests 2015 Honda Civic
User finds 2015 Civic is just as reliable and powerful
User outlaws 2015 Civic because it's not better
User mandates everyone drive 1975 Civic because nothing is functionally better

So, the '75 Civic was functionally identical to the 2015 model. But the bit that most people miss is that the 2015 Civic is a lot more modern, cleaner, friendlier, and so on. It's more than just function these days.


(http://i.imgur.com/RWb9SHQ.jpg)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: myosh_tino on April 26, 2014, 03:13:20 AM
I would expect that anything that doesn't presently conform - mainly Clearview negative contract signs (yes, I'm looking at you PA and TX) would have to be changed out as soon as possible.

Someone ought to point that out to the Boston Transportation Department.  Despite a pointed denial in January of 2012 from the department's spokesman, and despite being specifically prohibited in the Massachusetts supplement to the MUTCD, Boston is in the midst of replacing all its street signs with...you guessed it, new signs using Clearview.  They're all over the Brighton neighborhood where I work and they're butt-ugly.

Not sure about other parts of the country but in California, cities are pretty much free to use whatever typeface they prefer on street blades.  My city uses Bookman on street blades while others use Clearview (Santa Clara) or FHWA Series (San Jose, Sunnyvale, Mountain View to name a few) or some other custom font (Los Gatos and Saratoga).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on April 26, 2014, 03:43:33 AM
I would expect that anything that doesn't presently conform - mainly Clearview negative contract signs (yes, I'm looking at you PA and TX) would have to be changed out as soon as possible.

Someone ought to point that out to the Boston Transportation Department.  Despite a pointed denial in January of 2012 from the department's spokesman, and despite being specifically prohibited in the Massachusetts supplement to the MUTCD, Boston is in the midst of replacing all its street signs with...you guessed it, new signs using Clearview.  They're all over the Brighton neighborhood where I work and they're butt-ugly.

Not sure about other parts of the country but in California, cities are pretty much free to use whatever typeface they prefer on street blades.  My city uses Bookman on street blades while others use Clearview (Santa Clara) or FHWA Series (San Jose, Sunnyvale, Mountain View to name a few) or some other custom font (Los Gatos and Saratoga).

Same story in the NW area. I've seen countless type faces on street blades. When I first heard that Clearview probably wasn't going to get the green light anymore, my first thought was "Well, at least you'll still get to see them on street blades". Apparently that's not the case in some cities.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on April 26, 2014, 10:11:05 AM
All this griping about Clearview is coming down to matters of taste and nothing else.

Not quite--there are genuine quality assurance concerns that have to do with training and software provisioning.  Technicians that can handle the FHWA series acceptably often cannot wrangle Clearview; Clearview fonts often display incorrectly in plan sheets owing to signcad.rsc version mismatch (if using SignCAD) or failure to have the appropriate font resource files available; etc.

Quote
I hate to break it to other road geeks, FHWA Series Gothic is nowhere near the prettiest font ever developed. Honestly, it's a fairly ugly typeface on its own. Even the cleaned up Interstate typeface re-drawn by Tobias Frere Jones, arguably one of the very best type designers in the world, is still pretty harsh looking. And it has a great deal more creative functionality built into it than the Series Gothic fonts. The attachment to Series Gothic by way of many road geeks is deeply pinned in nostalgia and resistance to change for something better.

Actually, I think Interstate is worse than the vanilla FHWA series, which have a certain vernacular appeal, partly because the intercharacter spacing in Interstate is generally narrower.  Highway signs that use the FHWA series at the classic (fairly wide) spacing convey an air of authority that is absent from Sainsburys product packaging, which is the main application of Interstate that I am aware of.  Tobias Frere-Jones does not rank quite as high on my personal pantheon of type gods as Hermann Zapf or Adrian Frutiger.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on April 26, 2014, 11:04:12 AM
All this griping about Clearview is coming down to matters of taste and nothing else.

I hate to break it to other road geeks, FHWA Series Gothic is nowhere near the prettiest font ever developed. Honestly, it's a fairly ugly typeface on its own. Even the cleaned up Interstate typeface re-drawn by Tobias Frere Jones, arguably one of the very best type designers in the world, is still pretty harsh looking. And it has a great deal more creative functionality built into it than the Series Gothic fonts. The attachment to Series Gothic by way of many road geeks is deeply pinned in nostalgia and resistance to change for something better.

My feeling on the topic: if the FHWA removes interim approval of Clearview Highway for positive contrast legends they need to eliminate the current version of Series Gothic as well. It is an old, outdated, obsolete typeface. it does inspire nostalgia, but it is very very deficient when it comes to complying to the rules of the latest edition of the MUTCD. There is a deep need for something a whole hell of a lot better.

It doesn't matter how dated Highway Gothic is - the sole reason Clearview was ever allowed was because the FHWA thought it increased legibility over the normal FHWA Series fonts. Now that TTI's study on those typefaces has yielded that Clearview has NO statistical advantage over FHWA Series E, there is absolutely no reason to change the font period. It isn't a matter of taste - it's a matter of not spending any more money on a study that has now been depreciated. When and if another typeface comes along that may be more legible than the FHWA Series, we'll go through this same process again. But we do NOT need to experiment with other typefaces until then.

Not sure about other parts of the country but in California, cities are pretty much free to use whatever typeface they prefer on street blades.  My city uses Bookman on street blades while others use Clearview (Santa Clara) or FHWA Series (San Jose, Sunnyvale, Mountain View to name a few) or some other custom font (Los Gatos and Saratoga).

Somerville, a borough near me uses some serif font for their street blades, Trenton uses the OLD FHWA fonts, my town generally uses FHWA or Clearview, and Franklin Township tends to use Impact/Deep bold Helvetica.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: DaBigE on April 26, 2014, 01:35:50 PM
All this griping about Clearview is coming down to matters of taste and nothing else.

I hate to break it to other road geeks, FHWA Series Gothic is nowhere near the prettiest font ever developed. Honestly, it's a fairly ugly typeface on its own. Even the cleaned up Interstate typeface re-drawn by Tobias Frere Jones, arguably one of the very best type designers in the world, is still pretty harsh looking. And it has a great deal more creative functionality built into it than the Series Gothic fonts. The attachment to Series Gothic by way of many road geeks is deeply pinned in nostalgia and resistance to change for something better.

My feeling on the topic: if the FHWA removes interim approval of Clearview Highway for positive contrast legends they need to eliminate the current version of Series Gothic as well. It is an old, outdated, obsolete typeface. it does inspire nostalgia, but it is very very deficient when it comes to complying to the rules of the latest edition of the MUTCD. There is a deep need for something a whole hell of a lot better.

I haven't deeply searched the other threads on this topic, but I don't believe anyone was ever giving the FHWA Series any beauty awards. Face it, font choice is always going to be subject to personal preference. Arguing that FHWA's is "obsolete" is questionable at best. How many times don't you still see the use of Courier (not necessarily on signs, but rather on websites, documents, etc.)? Based on Highway Gothic being "obsolete", Courier should have died with the manual typewriter.

The point that a few (many?) of us don't like is the misuse of the interim approval and subsequent bastardization of Clearview. Secondly, as another subject thread points out, more studies are finding little to no difference in legibility tests. Does Highway Gothic have flaws? Yes. Does Clearview have flaws? Yes. Was the testing/interim approval process flawed? IMO, YES. Correct me if I am wrong, but I sill haven't found any tests that were done with Highway Gothic where the size/kerning of the letters were kept from E(m), but the actual series was changed to Series D, which would effectively reduce the stroke width as Clearview does, yet recycles the existing font. The latest TTI study comes close to doing that.

I don't think anyone will argue that a better font for signage could be developed. But in a time of ever tightening budgets who has the time, money, and resources to go through a proper, unbiased, scientific development of a new font, and is it worth it? Until then, I'm going to remain in the camp of if it ain't broken, don't mess with it. Save our highway dollars for fixing potholes and resolving larger traffic safety issues. No one is dying because they thought an 'o' was an 'e'. Do they still teach contextual reading anymore or has that died with the elimination of cursive writing? If you can't figure out a message based on one or two letters, I think you may have bigger issues.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on April 26, 2014, 02:35:03 PM
How many times don't you still see the use of Courier (not necessarily on signs, but rather on websites, documents, etc.)? Based on Highway Gothic being "obsolete", Courier should have died with the manual typewriter.

It's not a matter of a font dying. No font has ever died. But at least the W3C didn't outlaw any other fonts because they weren't functionally any better than Courier.

...I'm going to remain in the camp of if it ain't broken, don't mess with it

"From now on, everyone will be required to drive the 1985 Honda Civic because it has been determined by the Federal Government to be functionally identical to every car built since. Anyone caught driving a newer car will be publicly denounced."

(http://media.caranddriver.com/images/media/165851/1985-honda-civic-crx-photo-166271-s-429x262.jpg)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: myosh_tino on April 26, 2014, 02:48:32 PM
...I'm going to remain in the camp of if it ain't broken, don't mess with it

"From now on, everyone will be required to drive the 1985 Honda Civic because it has been determined by the Federal Government to be functionally identical to every car built since. Anyone caught driving a newer car will be publicly denounced."

Except the Federal Government never actually said that...  :rolleyes:
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: DaBigE on April 26, 2014, 03:24:52 PM
...I'm going to remain in the camp of if it ain't broken, don't mess with it

"From now on, everyone will be required to drive the 1985 Honda Civic because it has been determined by the Federal Government to be functionally identical to every car built since. Anyone caught driving a newer car will be publicly denounced."

Fonts vs. cars? I hope that's just sarcasm. Thanks for skipping over the whole scientific data and cost argument. It's not like I think outhouses are better than indoor plumbing.

And if you're talking about functionally identical, we should still be driving Model Ts, not an '85 Honda. No one really needs all those fancy electrical gizmos in their car.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vdeane on April 26, 2014, 04:00:02 PM
Don't count clearview as dead yet.  Nothing that FHWA does can/will stop MTQ from requiring it on all highway signs.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on April 26, 2014, 04:15:04 PM
...I'm going to remain in the camp of if it ain't broken, don't mess with it

"From now on, everyone will be required to drive the 1985 Honda Civic because it has been determined by the Federal Government to be functionally identical to every car built since. Anyone caught driving a newer car will be publicly denounced."

Fonts vs. cars? I hope that's just sarcasm. Thanks for skipping over the whole scientific data and cost argument. It's not like I think outhouses are better than indoor plumbing.

And if you're talking about functionally identical, we should still be driving Model Ts, not an '85 Honda. No one really needs all those fancy electrical gizmos in their car.

Yes it's sarcasm. I'm not really good at arguing, so I just throw out random, often sarcastic jokes, and analogies to help confuse everyone to the point where no one takes me seriously. It might be a disease that I have.  :-D

But nonetheless, I think that we've done enough studying, and here's the conclusion that I've come to:

"Clearview is functionally identical to FHWA Series Gothic"

If that is true, why do we both insist on arguing to the ends of the earth about which is better, when they are apparently the same? As you all have previously stated, this argument is entirely one's aesthetic preference. As such, completely tossing Clearview and all uses of it just seems daft. Each state should be able to use whatever they wish, and we all need to stop arguing as, theoretically, neither side can win.

Don't count clearview as dead yet.  Nothing that FHWA does can/will stop MTQ from requiring it on all highway signs.

I love how laid back Canada is.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: DaBigE on April 26, 2014, 04:26:35 PM
If that is true, why do we both insist on arguing to the ends of the earth about which is better, when they are apparently the same? As you all have previously stated, this argument is entirely one's aesthetic preference. As such, completely tossing Clearview and all uses of it just seems daft. Each state should be able to use whatever they wish, and we all need to stop arguing as, theoretically, neither side can win.

Agreed. No different than Ford vs Chevy, PC vs Mac. Despite scientific evidence, passion will always play a role. Saw it with my hometown's police department when they had the changing of the guard with police chiefs. One was a Ford guy (the one who retired), the replacement was a Chevy guy. Both companies build respectable police vehicles. Both (at the time) were very comparable in cost. Switching required buying all new roof lights, interior police "stuff" (cage, mounts, etc.), and acquiring new spare parts (at the time the city did their own vehicle maintenance). Fiscally, it was dumb to switch.

Since both fonts are "functionally identical", IMO, cost becomes the next big factor, which is where Clearview loses out.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on April 26, 2014, 05:02:07 PM
If that is true, why do we both insist on arguing to the ends of the earth about which is better, when they are apparently the same? As you all have previously stated, this argument is entirely one's aesthetic preference. As such, completely tossing Clearview and all uses of it just seems daft. Each state should be able to use whatever they wish, and we all need to stop arguing as, theoretically, neither side can win.

Agreed. No different than Ford vs Chevy, PC vs Mac. Despite scientific evidence, passion will always play a role. Saw it with my hometown's police department when they had the changing of the guard with police chiefs. One was a Ford guy (the one who retired), the replacement was a Chevy guy. Both companies build respectable police vehicles. Both (at the time) were very comparable in cost. Switching required buying all new roof lights, interior police "stuff" (cage, mounts, etc.), and acquiring new spare parts (at the time the city did their own vehicle maintenance). Fiscally, it was dumb to switch.

Since both fonts are "functionally identical", IMO, cost becomes the next big factor, which is where Clearview loses out.

If cost truly is the issue, then I concede. That sounds completely fair to me.

I remember back in the day, arguing Mac v PC. Those were the days.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on April 26, 2014, 05:18:34 PM
Don't count clearview as dead yet.  Nothing that FHWA does can/will stop MTQ from requiring it on all highway signs.

Clearview is also now the standard in British Columbia and Alberta.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on April 26, 2014, 05:30:32 PM
Don't count clearview as dead yet.  Nothing that FHWA does can/will stop MTQ from requiring it on all highway signs.

Clearview is also now the standard in British Columbia and Alberta.

It is, indeed, but BC made it standard in 2006. It's 2014 and FHWA is only just now telling Clearview to take a hike. Clearly one country has a few more hurdles than the other.

http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/publications/Circulars/All/T_Circ/2006/t15-06_v3.pdf
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 26, 2014, 10:26:03 PM
Quote from: J N Winkler
Actually, I think Interstate is worse than the vanilla FHWA series, which have a certain vernacular appeal, partly because the intercharacter spacing in Interstate is generally narrower.  Highway signs that use the FHWA series at the classic (fairly wide) spacing convey an air of authority that is absent from Sainsburys product packaging, which is the main application of Interstate that I am aware of. Tobias Frere-Jones does not rank quite as high on my personal pantheon of type gods as Hermann Zapf or Adrian Frutiger.

Out of type designers working today, Tobias Frere-Jones is arguably the most popular. Erik Spiekermann is the leading contender, if anyone else could have the title of world's most popular type designer. Gotham is the most trendy typeface released in the last 20 years. Interstate was very popular in the 1990s and into the 2000s. Some of Frere-Jones' newer typefaces, like Forza and Tungsten are very popular.

Interstate is more tightly spaced because it is a display typeface for graphic design. The letters in Interstate are definitely more refined and cleaned up than Series Gothic. I wouldn't advocate Interstate be used on highway signs. It's an older typeface and doesn't have the extra features I think are necessary in a traffic sign type family that is up to today's standards.

Quote from: Zeffy
It isn't a matter of taste - it's a matter of not spending any more money on a study that has now been depreciated. When and if another typeface comes along that may be more legible than the FHWA Series, we'll go through this same process again. But we do NOT need to experiment with other typefaces until then.

If the FHWA is going to go so far as telling states like Texas they can't use Clearview anymore and need to replace all those signs then the opportunity is there to actually get the type right rather than revert to Series 2000 legends, which are hardly any different than the original 1950's letters. At the very least, they need to incorporate native small capitals character sets into Series Gothic fonts if they're going to make Clearview-using states switch back to them. At least provide some improvement with the switch.

Quote from:  
I don't think anyone will argue that a better font for signage could be developed. But in a time of ever tightening budgets who has the time, money, and resources to go through a proper, unbiased, scientific development of a new font, and is it worth it? Until then, I'm going to remain in the camp of if it ain't broken, don't mess with it. Save our highway dollars for fixing potholes and resolving larger traffic safety issues.

Who says development of a new traffic sign type family and legibility studies has to take place only at taxpayers' expense? Private companies like Adobe and Google are developing type families for open source use. The US Government could literally have the two companies competing with each other to create the most effective type family.

Quote from: DaBigE
Since both fonts are "functionally identical", IMO, cost becomes the next big factor, which is where Clearview loses out.

Since when is Series 2000 Gothic free? It's not an open source, public domain typeface. Sign industry specific software may bundle those fonts with the application. I've seen a couple different companies commercially selling versions of Series 2000 Gothic in the $400-$600 price range.

While a Clearview license isn't cheap, it's not really all that expensive if you compare it to materials costs of large traffic signs -like the goofy, erroneous ones that end up having to be replaced over quality control errors.

If I read it right, I saw one person claim Clearview licenses would cost their firm $50,000. Exactly how many sign designers does this firm have? By myself, I design hundreds of custom signs per year, signs that take time to design. They're not something that can be easily cranked out by way of templates built into traffic sign software. One traffic sign firm shouldn't need more than a handful of licenses.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 26, 2014, 10:43:38 PM
Here's a few images of what Oklahoma DOT is installing in Lawton. The following signs aren't really a failure of Clearview. They're a failure of quality control and examples of bad decision making over size/choice of sign panel, methods of fabrication, etc. They would be every bit as bad if set in Series 2000 Gothic. Honestly, if someone in my company was making signs like this, he would get fired in a short amount of time. We would be losing money from angry customers demanding their signs be fixed.

A bunch of these signs should be replaced, which could cost more than what ODOT spent on Clearview font licenses. The signs should have been designed/built correctly in the first place.

(http://i.imgur.com/zPzNyLk.jpg)

This sign on I-44 in Lawton (Westbound just North of the Cache Road exit) is a perfect example of what I've been complaining about and what can inspire anti-signs advocates to start campaigning against these things if any alternatives appear, like technology developments in cars and mobile devices.

This sign is a mess and its lettering is deteriorating after only a couple or so years of service. The lettering appears to be vinyl alone, not routed aluminum covered in reflective vinyl. It looks like the fabricators had a grab bag of stock letters and were applying them one letter at a time -which doesn't make the slightest bit of sense if you're applying vinyl lettering. You release tape entire lines of copy. Most of the letters in the legend are 14," but check out the "l" in "Great Plains." That's a 17" lowercase "l," and there's a 17" lowercase "r" in "Auditorium." The letter spacing is kind of wacky, especially in the word "Auditorium." Some of the letters aren't even level. It gives the sign a little of that ransom note feel.

(http://i.imgur.com/e5GKftE.jpg)

This similar sign on I-44 in Lawton (Northbound just South of the Gore Blvd exit) is holding up a little better than its counterpart sign a couple miles North. The fabricators did a slightly better job laying out the copy, although some of the spacing is still screwed up. Note the "s" on the end of "Museums." It is a little strange how they set "Comanche Nat'l" in Clearview 2W while the rest of the legend is in 5WR. The apostrophe in "Nat'l" is upside down. Not to split hairs, but it's really the Comanche Nation Museum, not Comanche National Museum. The other one is the Museum of the Great Plains. Here's the best thing: they misspelled "McMahon."

(http://i.imgur.com/lLemC8A.jpg)

This overhead sign is on the Westbound lanes of I-44 just North of the Cache Road exit. Parts of the interchange are under re-construction, hence the "closed" banner. Look how BADLY "Wichita Falls" is positioned on the sign. Horrible. There's letter spacing issues on both of these sign panels.

(http://i.imgur.com/GFJSo9e.jpg)

Here's another example showing letter spacing issues. "Lawton" isn't spaced too well. I don't know why "Cache Rd" is set as small as it is, yet tracked so loosely. The "Lawton" and "Cache Rd" letters appear to be Clearview 6W.

(http://i.imgur.com/jYJky6N.jpg)

These signs look a little better, but I don't know why ODOT put 3' route markers on one panel and 4' route markers on the other panel. I don't particularly care for how those US highway sheilds are shaped.

(http://i.imgur.com/NORKyof.jpg)

ODOT installed some signs like these on Rogers Lane (now US-62) not long ago when the exits with Sheridan Road and Fort Sill Blvd were reconfigured. They replaced some larger, button copy signs with these things. Obviously some decision maker found it necessary to make the Clearview-based replacements smaller and cheaper. Yet they've still tried to cram Clearview 5W lettering to fit. This spacing is tighter than what one typically sees on most commercial business signs.

(http://i.imgur.com/WPEiRnU.jpg)

Here's an example for the Fort Sill Blvd exit.

(http://i.imgur.com/uCR6pKc.jpg)

Finally, here's an older, button copy based goof. The copy on the top line was altered when US-62 was re-routed onto Rogers Lane. Even if ODOT didn't have a bunch of existing button copy letters laying around they could have at least used reflective letters set in Series Gothic E/M.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on April 26, 2014, 10:53:31 PM
Since when is Series 2000 Gothic free? It's not an open source, public domain typeface. Sign industry specific software may bundle those fonts with the application. I've seen a couple different companies commercially selling versions of Series 2000 Gothic in the $400-$600 price range.

The Standard Alphabets ("Series 2000 Gothic") are actually freely available as a set of outlines (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/SHSm/Alphabets.pdf) on the MUTCD's website, which anyone with sufficient technical experience can recreate into a font. In the United States (IIRC) typeface designs cannot be copyrighted, but font files can. So while the Standard Alphabets are in the public domain, different implementations exist, such as the official collection (http://www.fhwa.org/en/products/fhwa/fhwa_intro_en.html), Highway Gothic, Blue Highway and Roadgeek 2005, and they can charge as much as they want for their (copyrighted) implementation of the fonts.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: DaBigE on April 26, 2014, 11:41:19 PM
Since when is Series 2000 Gothic free? It's not an open source, public domain typeface. Sign industry specific software may bundle those fonts with the application. I've seen a couple different companies commercially selling versions of Series 2000 Gothic in the $400-$600 price range.

The Standard Alphabets ("Series 2000 Gothic") are actually freely available as a set of outlines (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/SHSm/Alphabets.pdf) on the MUTCD's website, which anyone with sufficient technical experience can recreate into a font. In the United States (IIRC) typeface designs cannot be copyrighted, but font files can. So while the Standard Alphabets are in the public domain, different implementations exist, such as the official collection (http://www.fhwa.org/en/products/fhwa/fhwa_intro_en.html), Highway Gothic, Blue Highway and Roadgeek 2005, and they can charge as much as they want for their (copyrighted) implementation of the fonts.

What sammi said. And, I was referring more to the costs associated with changing from one to the other. Yes, both have start-up costs, but those should have been recouped/written-off long ago with the FHWA fonts. It costs virtually nothing to maintain the status quo. With Clearview, you have not only the costs of acquiring the new fonts, but also retooling, assuming the letters are punched out (for those states that still use copy that is riveted onto the BGSs).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vdeane on April 27, 2014, 04:36:49 PM
Normally when a state changes sign standards, they only apply them to new signs and don't change existing ones.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: 1 on April 27, 2014, 07:39:51 PM
Normally when a state changes sign standards, they only apply them to new signs and don't change existing ones.

This doesn't seem to be the case for some states. They replaced them for no reason, wasting money.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PurdueBill on April 28, 2014, 11:11:36 AM
Michigan seemed to go overboard for replacing signs with life left just to install Clearview.  Maybe the old signs were more ready for replacement than they looked (even at night), but it looked an awful lot like they were replacing just to get rid of the old typeface.

A major thing that irks me about Clearview is that so many agencies seem to insist on using it wrong.  Despite the FHWA interim approval letters saying that it must only be used for light text on dark background, etc. etc., it keeps getting used in all sorts of inappropriate ways.  The City of Akron is using it on all new street sign blades but not stopping there--it's also on signs like ONCOMING TRAFFIC HAS EXTENDED GREEN, [Bike] MAY USE FULL LANE, etc. that are never supposed to use Clearview.  The FHWA Clearview FAQ has pics of all sorts of bad applications--dark text on light, EXIT ONLY sections, route shields, yellow diamond signs, and so on, not to mention bonkers fraction rectangles.  All of these _decrease_ legibility and the door to that was opened by the probably well-meaning interim approval of Clearview for very limited applications.  If people are going to insist on using it wrong, then FHWA should just take it away as a possibility. 
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PHLBOS on April 28, 2014, 02:03:46 PM
Of course, I would expect that anything that doesn't presently conform - mainly Clearview negative contract signs (yes, I'm looking at you PA and TX) would have to be changed out as soon as possible.
Add DE, MD & VA to that list as well.  At least PA has gotten better with using Clearview with restraint among their newer highway sign installations.

(http://i.imgur.com/lVM7Qgv.png)
Clearview started being used circa 2004 Per Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearview_(typeface)).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Alex on April 28, 2014, 03:41:41 PM
Clearview started being used circa 2004 Per Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearview_(typeface)).

First saw Clearview on this installation at the north end of Interstate 176 in July 2000:

(http://www.aaroads.com/northeast/pennsylvania300/us-422_eb_at_i-176_nt.jpg)

Thanks Zeffy for the analysis!
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on April 28, 2014, 03:48:36 PM
is it just me or does that Pottstown/Morgantown gantry have a lighter weight to the font?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on April 28, 2014, 03:53:47 PM
is it just me or does that Pottstown/Morgantown gantry have a lighter weight to the font?

No, it's not just you.  The current (fairly heavy) weights of Clearview emerged relatively late in the development cycle--most of the early experimental signs used it at lighter weights.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on April 28, 2014, 04:08:56 PM
looks also to me like the variation in stroke thickness is somewhat less. 
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on April 28, 2014, 04:45:27 PM
This particular variant of Clearview was one that came up earlier in the design process (as J N Winkler pointed out).

(http://clearviewhwy.com/_images/researchDesign/DesignDev_01.gif)

I'm guessing this version is the one labeled "Clearview version 1".
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on April 28, 2014, 04:47:24 PM
it's not bad at all, actually.  but I can see why they would modify the initial versions to go even further along the direction they were taking to address their perceived limitations of FHWA.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PHLBOS on April 28, 2014, 05:41:33 PM
Clearview started being used circa 2004 Per Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearview_(typeface)).

First saw Clearview on this installation at the north end of Interstate 176 in July 2000:

(http://www.aaroads.com/northeast/pennsylvania300/us-422_eb_at_i-176_nt.jpg)

Thanks Zeffy for the analysis!
Good to know.  I somehow have to wonder if that particular installation was during an initial experimental stage within the state.  Similar-vintage BGS' erected in Delaware County & Philly still used Highway Gothic.

IIRC, PennDOT & PTC went on a Clearview binge years after those I-176 & US 422 BGS' were installed.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on April 28, 2014, 07:04:17 PM
Clearview started being used circa 2004 Per Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearview_(typeface)).

I wasn't sure when the font was actually designed (born, more or less), so I just put question marks. But actual usage is probably a better year anyways.

(http://i.imgur.com/C6BxfAC.png)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on April 28, 2014, 07:31:39 PM
what is that three-way rotationally symmetric figure at the top of the gravestone?  been seeing it in places on this forum.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: briantroutman on April 28, 2014, 07:33:36 PM
(http://bit.ly/QS8Gsb)
Map link (http://bit.ly/1fr0gD1)

This was the first Clearview sign I ever saw, and perhaps one of the first ever unleashed upon the public. I can’t recall exactly, but based on recollections of my school years, when I started driving, etc., I believe this dates back to about 1996 or ’97. It remained the sole Clearview sign in the Williamsport area for close to 10 years.

The newer “EXIT 21” panel at the bottom covers the original “NEXT RIGHT” legend and dates from 2001 when PA switched to mileage based numbering. Before that, I-180's exits weren’t numbered, and many guides had blank exit tabs.

And this would appear to be a prototype version. Notice that the ascenders of the lowercase Ls don’t reach above the cap line, which would be a change made in subsequent versions of Clearview.

This is a relatively short (about 1 hour) drive from Penn State (where Clearview was initially tested), but I have no idea how or why this sign ended up here.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Big John on April 28, 2014, 07:50:30 PM
what is that three-way rotationally symmetric figure at the top of the gravestone?  been seeing it in places on this forum.
US DOT and Certain state DOTs use that symbol or a variation thereof

US: (http://americandbe.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Seal_US_DOT.png)

Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on April 28, 2014, 10:05:18 PM
Strictly speaking, September 20, 2004 is only the date FHWA issued the Clearview interim approval memorandum.  Texas had already incorporated Clearview into its sign design standards almost a year earlier, in October 2003.  The first TxDOT construction plans set that had pattern-accurate sign panel detail sheets showing Clearview was an El Paso project (CCSJ 0167-01-083) let in August 2003.  For a solid year before that, TxDOT had been uploading construction plans sets with sign panel detail sheets showing signs with Series E Modified legend but including some variation of the following note:  "For this project, Expressway Clearview font shall be used for all overhead signs manufactured with Type D sheeting.  The spacing between the letters shall be the same as the spacing between E (Mod) letters" (this particular example is taken from the plans set for CCSJ 0073-08-134, an I-37 signs replacement contract which was let in September 2002).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: DaBigE on April 28, 2014, 10:46:23 PM
what is that three-way rotationally symmetric figure at the top of the gravestone?  been seeing it in places on this forum.
US DOT and Certain state DOTs use that symbol or a variation thereof

US: (http://americandbe.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Seal_US_DOT.png)

It's formally known as the triskelion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triskelion)
WisDOT's history on the use of the triskelion (http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/about/overview/logo.htm)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on April 30, 2014, 01:25:14 PM
This particular variant of Clearview was one that came up earlier in the design process (as J N Winkler pointed out).

(http://clearviewhwy.com/_images/researchDesign/DesignDev_01.gif)

I'm guessing this version is the one labeled "Clearview version 1".

Is that a prayer to the Egyptian god?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on April 30, 2014, 01:38:49 PM
Bobby: Keep in mind that FHWA is not in the business of being a type foundry. FHWA specifies the letterforms and spacing of the FHWA Series fonts, but does not create a software implementation of such, nor does it endorse any particular implementation. There's nothing stopping a type foundry (or even a private citizen with a font editor that supports it, like Michael Adams) from creating a FHWA Series implementation with full OTF support. There would likely be complaints from the private sector if FHWA created or endorsed a particular FHWA Series implementation, since it would harm the type foundries which have created and sell FHWA fonts.

For that matter, the way typefaces are handled legally in the US means that someone could do the same for Clearview—typeface designs are not copyrightable. The software required to use the font—the font file—is copyrightable. Meaning that it is legally OK to draw up your own OTF Clearview implementation using an existing file as reference, so long as you do not actually directly copy-and-paste (or trace over) anything from the existing file to yours.

With regard to the sign photos you posted—as you stated, this is just base ODOT incompetence, and has little to do with the font issue. (This particular job is a disaster—I want to say it was the same job that specified "Wichata Falls" as a control city and briefly had a US-288 shield posted in place of US-277.) I have seen them make much more of a mess than this with FHWA fonts (have you seen that pair of county line signs on US-69?). But all of the additional rules attached to Clearview means that ODOT is probably more likely to use Clearview incorrect than FHWA Series.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on April 30, 2014, 01:44:34 PM
I couldn't disagree more with the arguments that states should slap whatever font they want on BGSs. The point of the Interstate Highway System was:

An interlocking freeway system throughout the country to improve mobility and infrastructure.
A high speed freeway system designed with consistancy for safety.

The main thing I have with his whole Clearview thing is the Interstate Highway System has a set of design standards for a reason: so you can drive from one side of the country to the other safely at high speeds without trouble reading signs or unusual blind curves or hills.  How can you have consistancy with two different fonts on the signs?   I understand that I am a road geek and the average person doesn't get offended by Clearview like I do, but the average driver does notice the difference in fonts. More than one person I know that isn't a road geek has noticed the difference between Clearview and Highway Gothic. Now, I agree that it isn't enough for a driver to be so appalled by the change in font that they run off the road and end up upside down in a ditch, but the most wonderful thing about the Interstate Highway System is that it righted all the things the US Highway System and various State Highway Systems got so terribly wrong: it gave the states a template for road design and sign design that will be universal throughout the 50 states and is also idiot proof.  It was everything the US Highway System wasn't. And now everyone wants to put whatever font you feel like on signs?  Great, so I have to remember West Virgina decided to use wingdings the next time I visit.   
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on April 30, 2014, 01:44:52 PM
it is legally OK to draw up your own OTF Clearview implementation using an existing file as reference, so long as you do not actually directly copy-and-paste (or trace over) anything from the existing file to yours.

is Clearview's description available as a set of curves, similar to how FHWA is available?

I cobbled together Series A based on a lengths-and-radii description from a 1966 manual... I'm pretty sure Clearview has non-circular arcs and thus would require a different description language.  (Bezier or similar.)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on April 30, 2014, 03:14:46 PM
it is legally OK to draw up your own OTF Clearview implementation using an existing file as reference, so long as you do not actually directly copy-and-paste (or trace over) anything from the existing file to yours.

is Clearview's description available as a set of curves, similar to how FHWA is available?

I cobbled together Series A based on a lengths-and-radii description from a 1966 manual... I'm pretty sure Clearview has non-circular arcs and thus would require a different description language.  (Bezier or similar.)

To my knowledge, it is not. Presumably such a description would have been added to the SHS book if Clearview were endorsed as the recommended font in the MUTCD. It is, of course, possible to derive such things manually, as Michael Adams did, but that would naturally require much more effort.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on April 30, 2014, 05:36:15 PM
I couldn't disagree more with the arguments that states should slap whatever font they want on BGSs. The point of the Interstate Highway System was:

An interlocking freeway system throughout the country to improve mobility and infrastructure.
A high speed freeway system designed with consistancy for safety.

The main thing I have with his whole Clearview thing is the Interstate Highway System has a set of design standards for a reason: so you can drive from one side of the country to the other safely at high speeds without trouble reading signs or unusual blind curves or hills.  How can you have consistancy with two different fonts on the signs?   I understand that I am a road geek and the average person doesn't get offended by Clearview like I do, but the average driver does notice the difference in fonts. More than one person I know that isn't a road geek has noticed the difference between Clearview and Highway Gothic. Now, I agree that it isn't enough for a driver to be so appalled by the change in font that they run off the road and end up upside down in a ditch, but the most wonderful thing about the Interstate Highway System is that it righted all the things the US Highway System and various State Highway Systems got so terribly wrong: it gave the states a template for road design and sign design that will be universal throughout the 50 states and is also idiot proof.  It was everything the US Highway System wasn't. And now everyone wants to put whatever font you feel like on signs? 

"It gave the states a template for road design and sign design that will be universal throughout the 50 states and is also idiot proof." And yet here we are talking about how idiots failed to follow it. The federal government exists to arbitrate differences between the states, not impose standards on all of them. And despite setting these standards, this very forum is loaded with examples of gross violations of those standards.

I've come to the conclusion that having more laws accomplishes little more than creating more criminals. Since the federal government cannot ensure that these standards will always be met, they should just privatize the whole thing. Let a national organization of state and local transportation experts set recommendations and call out jurisdictions that don't follow them. This organization can review fonts and approve them for use.

The roadgeek will revel in seeing the differing patterns among the state. The average driver won't care any more than he does with the state-to-state differences now. Font developers would benefit, creating affordable versions of Clearview, Gothic and whatever other font the experts think is acceptable.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: mcmc on May 01, 2014, 04:37:44 PM
The FHWA's intention to withdraw interim approval of Clearview has made the news. KRXO radio out of Grays Harbor County, Washington offers an article with a quote from an FHWA spokesman:

Quote
Clearview highway font not clear enough for Grays Harbor

Quote
Neil Gaffney, Public Affairs Specialist for the Federal Highway Administration tells KXRO, “We plan on rescinding the interim approval altogether and are not approving further use of the font anywhere going forward.”

http://kxro.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/clearview-highway-font-not-clear-enough-for-grays-harbor/
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Quillz on May 01, 2014, 04:45:56 PM
May 1, 2014: FHWA Series won the War of the Fonts
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: mcmc on May 01, 2014, 05:03:11 PM
Assuming that these reports are indeed true, how long after the FHWA officially revokes the interim authorization can we expect new Clearview signs to stop going up?

I have an suspicion that many agencies will keep designing Clearview signs well after the interim authorization is withdrawn either because they have a lot invested in its use (e.g., design templates) or out of sheer incompetence.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Takumi on May 01, 2014, 05:18:09 PM
YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 01, 2014, 05:21:41 PM
Assuming that these reports are indeed true, how long after the FHWA officially revokes the interim authorization can we expect new Clearview signs to stop going up?

I would estimate about two years.  When FHWA revokes the interim approval for Clearview, it will probably not rescind permission to let federal-aid signing contracts that provide for installation of Clearview signs.  It can take as long as two years after letting to final out signing contracts (whether Clearview is used or not).

Quote
I have an suspicion that many agencies will keep designing Clearview signs well after the interim authorization is withdrawn either because they have a lot invested in its use (e.g., design templates) or out of sheer incompetence.

Either is certainly possible.  The CAD work involved in changing Clearview signs to FHWA Series signs does not take long--about a month for a medium-sized signing contract.  However, there are layers of review that have to be gone through if the state DOT has any interest at all in a high-quality finished product, so I would say that changing from Clearview back to the FHWA Series will add about three months of delay to signing contracts currently in design.

The fly in the ointment is that once Clearview approval is revoked, many state DOTs will not have pre-Clearview engineering standards that they can go back to that still comply with the MUTCD.  Texas, for example, went from 6" Series D all-uppercase on small guide signs to mixed-case Clearview (8" caps) when it adopted Clearview.  It cannot go back to all-uppercase because, as of the 2009 edition, that no longer complies with the MUTCD.  This problem will not apply to states that took out Clearview authorizations but didn't convert to Clearview on their state highway systems (Kansas and Utah fall into this category), but it will certainly be a problem not just for Texas but also for Arizona, Michigan, Oklahoma, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: mcmc on May 01, 2014, 05:35:52 PM
^ Thanks, for that, JN.

One other possible stumbling block to Clearview's removal might be agencies' stubbornness. Many agencies use Clearview in uses far beyond what the interim approval authorizes, indicating a clear preference for Clearview (e.g., PennDOT, MDSHA, VDOT). Might an agency simply disregard the revocation of the interim approval and continue using Clearview just because it likes using it?

In many states, perfectly usable FHWA Series signs have been replaced with Clearview signs for what seems to be no reason other than to slap Clearview on as many signs as possible. I have a hard time believing that bureaucracies will reverse themselves so easily. Is there any enforcement mechanism that the FHWA would realistically exercise to enforce compliance?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vdeane on May 01, 2014, 05:55:29 PM
but it will certainly be a problem not just for Texas but also for Arizona, Michigan, Oklahoma, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
And Vermont.  FHWA series guide signs are quite rare in that state now.  It will be a shame to see it go there.  VTrans is one agency that made clearview look beautiful.

Pity it took NYSTA several years to start making decent clearview signs.  Most of the ones erected look terrible.  There are two that look decent.  And no two clearview signs seem to be designed to exactly the same standards.  I suspect that NYSTA was experimenting with each and every sign, though it's hard to tell since they don't do route/county-wide sign rehabs like NYSDOT does.

IMO this is the best looking clearview sign NYSTA ever made: http://goo.gl/maps/eIzn3
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on May 01, 2014, 09:07:54 PM
It cannot go back to all-uppercase because, as of the 2009 edition, that no longer complies with the MUTCD.  This problem will not apply to states that took out Clearview authorizations but didn't convert to Clearview on their state highway systems (Kansas and Utah fall into this category), but it will certainly be a problem not just for Texas but also for Arizona, Michigan, Oklahoma, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

You can strike Oklahoma from this list. ODOT has posted its newest conventional-road signs in mixed-case Clearview, but most of them are still all-caps D, and are not all that old, dating from the mid 2000s, when ODOT went through and replaced older all-caps C signs. However, I have seen some mixed-case FHWA Series conventional road signs in western Oklahoma (namely on SH-152 west of Sayre), so they do have the technical ability to do this ready to go.

KRXO radio out of Grays Harbor County, Washington

This caught my eye since KRXO is the local classic rock station here in OKC! Of course, reading further, I realized that was just a typo.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 02, 2014, 02:01:49 PM
Quote from: Scott5114
To my knowledge, it is not. Presumably such a description would have been added to the SHS book if Clearview were endorsed as the recommended font in the MUTCD. It is, of course, possible to derive such things manually, as Michael Adams did, but that would naturally require much more effort.

Years ago I downloaded a PDF from TX DOT called "CTSEng.pdf" which was a Clearview based supplement for the Texas own flavor of the 2006 MUTCD. It had 20 pages worth of spacing tables and a lot more pages showing closer views of the letter forms. It's an encrypted & password protected PDF; you would have the break the password block to be able to gain access to the letter forms. And only then you would have to do something like place/link the PDF file in Adobe Illustrator and "flatten transparancy" to convert the embedded fonts to outlines. Otherwise all the type would revert into Myriad Pro.

Quote from: jbnv
"It gave the states a template for road design and sign design that will be universal throughout the 50 states and is also idiot proof." And yet here we are talking about how idiots failed to follow it. The federal government exists to arbitrate differences between the states, not impose standards on all of them. And despite setting these standards, this very forum is loaded with examples of gross violations of those standards.

Here's the fundamental problem: you can't have non-designers doing sign design work and expect proper attention to details, proper layout fundamentals and proper quality control over the sign fabrication process. Having a manual like the MUTCD is fine. But you still need people with visual oriented problem solving skills to put it into action.

Some bureaucrat can add another 200 pages of rules to the MUTCD, change things, go backward on other rules, and it won't solve any problems. If anything, the problem with botched sign designs will only get worse. Add in the extra ingredient of limited funds, the need to pinch pennies. That creates even more rule-breaking signs.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 02, 2014, 03:28:37 PM
Years ago I downloaded a PDF from TX DOT called "CTSEng.pdf" which was a Clearview based supplement for the Texas own flavor of the 2006 MUTCD. It had 20 pages worth of spacing tables and a lot more pages showing closer views of the letter forms. It's an encrypted & password protected PDF; you would have the break the password block to be able to gain access to the letter forms. And only then you would have to do something like place/link the PDF file in Adobe Illustrator and "flatten transparancy" to convert the embedded fonts to outlines. Otherwise all the type would revert into Myriad Pro.

Are you sure that file was specific to Texas and not the FHWA Clearview supplement?  The filenames are the same.  The FHWA Clearview supplement presents the Clearview letters as rasters, probably to prevent glyph copying.

To my knowledge, it is not. Presumably such a description would have been added to the SHS book if Clearview were endorsed as the recommended font in the MUTCD. It is, of course, possible to derive such things manually, as Michael Adams did, but that would naturally require much more effort.

I concur re. the non-availability of dimensioned drawings for Clearview letters--I have never seen any and, frankly, doubt any have been produced.

My understanding is that Michael Adams produced the Roadgeek fonts (both FHWA Series and Clearview) by raster-dumping at the best resolution available, autotracing, and doing a cleanup job to remove most of the excess nodes, in order to avoid relying on the argument that glyphs are not copyright in the US.  For the FHWA Series he was able to dump at extremely high resolution since the actual URW fonts are embedded in the Standard Alphabets PDF that was then (and still is) available for download.  For Clearview he had to use the Clearview supplement with its limited-resolution rasters.  This is why Roadgeek Clearview is much more "hairy" at high magnification than the Roadgeek FHWA series, which in turn are somewhat more "hairy" than the professionally produced URW fonts, for which I think the glyphs were actually confected from dimensioned drawings whenever those were available.  (They are definitely available for uppercase Series A through F from the 1945 edition of Standard Alphabets, but I have never seen them for the lowercase letters.)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Quillz on May 02, 2014, 04:29:06 PM
I still have the "official" ClearviewHwy fonts that I bought directly from the vendor if anyone wants them.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on May 02, 2014, 04:35:04 PM
I still have the "official" ClearviewHwy fonts that I bought directly from the vendor if anyone wants them.

I have that font package you uploaded when I first joined. Thanks for that by the way! I noticed the link is long dead now though.

Here's the fundamental problem: you can't have non-designers doing sign design work and expect proper attention to details, proper layout fundamentals and proper quality control over the sign fabrication process. Having a manual like the MUTCD is fine. But you still need people with visual oriented problem solving skills to put it into action.

Yeah you can - they use GuidSIGN and SignCAD anyway, which makes it incredibly easy to design the signs. I think I read that SignCAD has a problem with Clearview and usually barfs out Arial instead.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on May 02, 2014, 05:20:09 PM
I still have the "official" ClearviewHwy fonts that I bought directly from the vendor if anyone wants them.

I have that font package you uploaded when I first joined. Thanks for that by the way! I noticed the link is long dead now though.

I've since rehosted said package here: http://g3sf.x10.mx/sammdot/fonts/Quillz-RoadFonts.zip
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Quillz on May 02, 2014, 05:21:47 PM
Is GuideSIGN and SignCAD the best way to design highway shields? I've tried recreating Interstate shields in Illustrator, and a lot of the specs featured in the SHS simply make no sense from my perspective. I've often wanted to make some signs that featured Clearview, but it's hard to do so, at least for me.

Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Quillz on May 02, 2014, 05:24:28 PM
I still have the "official" ClearviewHwy fonts that I bought directly from the vendor if anyone wants them.

I have that font package you uploaded when I first joined. Thanks for that by the way! I noticed the link is long dead now though.

I've since rehosted said package here: http://g3sf.x10.mx/sammdot/fonts/Quillz-RoadFonts.zip
Neat, thanks for rehosting. I don't run my web server anymore so the old URL is naturally dead. I have a similar ZIP archive with ClearviewHwy + Saa + PIXsymbols2002, the latter being the best implementation of the FHWA Series fonts I've come across. (Although Saa has the advantage of including Series A, it seems to be based on pre-2000s guidelines).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on May 02, 2014, 05:31:48 PM
I've tried recreating Interstate shields in Illustrator, and a lot of the specs featured in the SHS simply make no sense from my perspective. I've often wanted to make some signs that featured Clearview, but it's hard to do so, at least for me.

I've been able to recreate Interstate, US and California shields (the only ones available with RSM so far) from specifications in the SHSM and the California Coded Sign Specs (http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/engineering/control-devices/specs.htm) with no problems so far. I think for some of them don't quite line up, if that's what you mean (I had that problem with the 2dCA shield).

How is it hard for you to make Clearview signs?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Quillz on May 02, 2014, 05:41:03 PM
I've tried recreating Interstate shields in Illustrator, and a lot of the specs featured in the SHS simply make no sense from my perspective. I've often wanted to make some signs that featured Clearview, but it's hard to do so, at least for me.

I've been able to recreate Interstate, US and California shields (the only ones available with RSM so far) from specifications in the SHSM and the California Coded Sign Specs (http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/engineering/control-devices/specs.htm) with no problems so far. I think for some of them don't quite line up, if that's what you mean (I had that problem with the 2dCA shield).

How is it hard for you to make Clearview signs?
I'm referring specifically to some of the posted specs in the SHS. Most of them are easy enough to understand, size of legend, its placement in relation to the top or bottom, but then they simply point to various curves without any actual explanation of the exact angle, etc. Making them hard to recreate in Illustrator and other vector programs. Which is why I'm wondering if things like GuideSIGN are the best for making actual shields.

Though this is getting off-topic.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Alps on May 02, 2014, 06:50:11 PM
Is GuideSIGN and SignCAD the best way to design highway shields? I've tried recreating Interstate shields in Illustrator, and a lot of the specs featured in the SHS simply make no sense from my perspective. I've often wanted to make some signs that featured Clearview, but it's hard to do so, at least for me.


Man, the best way I've found: The dimensions are there in the MUTCD. Make your own shields to those dimensions. Get GuidSIGN to spit out the number in the height you want, then manually position it on the sign per MUTCD/Standard Highway Signs.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 03, 2014, 10:07:26 AM
Is GuidSIGN and SignCAD the best way to design highway shields? I've tried recreating Interstate shields in Illustrator, and a lot of the specs featured in the SHS simply make no sense from my perspective. I've often wanted to make some signs that featured Clearview, but it's hard to do so, at least for me.

I wouldn't use either application for designing shields--their primary purpose is to confect sign panel layouts, and the vendors of both rely on state DOTs sending them dimensioned drawings of their shields that they can then incorporate into the software.

Shields for which dimensioned drawings are available that set out the design parameters using lines and circular arcs are usually pretty easy to draw.  The dimensions that aren't given explicitly often fall out through symmetry or can be solved trigonometrically.  You just have to master the "create object with precision" options that are available in your preferred vector drawing package.  I have had reasonably good luck drawing guide-sign markers for Wisconsin, Oregon, and Minnesota state highways in CorelDRAW directly from the specs.  The only shields that have caused me problems so far are the Nevada state highway marker and the Minnesota county pentagon, and that is because both specify certain angles in a way that involves calculating points of tangency, which is very difficult to do analytically in these particular cases.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on May 03, 2014, 02:19:11 PM
The only shields that have caused me problems so far are the Nevada state highway marker and the Minnesota county pentagon, and that is because both specify certain angles in a way that involves calculating points of tangency, which is very difficult to do analytically in these particular cases.
I'm a competent user of CAD. If you send me the specs, maybe I can draft the markers, and send you drawings with more explicit dimensions, or as SVG.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 03, 2014, 04:07:40 PM
I'm a competent user of CAD. If you send me the specs, maybe I can draft the markers, and send you drawings with more explicit dimensions, or as SVG.

I think SVG would probably be best for sharing.

The Nevada DOT guide-sign marker is available here (PDF page 2):

http://nevadadot.com/uploadedFiles/NDOT/About_NDOT/NDOT_Divisions/Planning/Safety_Engineering/2006_TSS_Guide.pdf

The MnDOT county pentagon drawing is available here (PDF page 16):

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/trafficeng/publ/signsmanual/standardsigns-2013-mseries.pdf

If limited time forces a choice between the two, I'd go for the Nevada marker since (1) there are no convenient substitutes (the independent-mount marker cannot be repurposed as a guide-sign marker for sign drawings since it is too different in design), and (2) I actually suspect MnDOT's county pentagon is the same as the generic design, for which there may be other drawings floating around that are easier to work with.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on May 06, 2014, 10:42:16 PM
I'm a competent user of CAD. If you send me the specs, maybe I can draft the markers, and send you drawings with more explicit dimensions, or as SVG.

I think SVG would probably be best for sharing.

The Nevada DOT guide-sign marker is available here (PDF page 2):

http://nevadadot.com/uploadedFiles/NDOT/About_NDOT/NDOT_Divisions/Planning/Safety_Engineering/2006_TSS_Guide.pdf

The MnDOT county pentagon drawing is available here (PDF page 16):

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/trafficeng/publ/signsmanual/standardsigns-2013-mseries.pdf

Nevada marker is now available in the Vid's SVG Foundry (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=12306.msg297296#msg297296) thread.  I may yet do the pentagon, announcing completion thereof in that thread as well.  MnDOT guide sign pentagons are now there too.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: talllguy on May 10, 2014, 06:25:32 PM
Interesting long form article from 2007 on Clearview: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/magazine/12fonts-t.html?pagewanted=all

"A greek version is planned." Is that still the case?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 13, 2014, 02:46:47 PM
I think if Terminal Design was going to update Clearview Highway with Greek language support it would have happened by now.

One thing I find odd is how Clearview ADA has a complete native small capitals character set included with the standard upper & lower case characters. But Clearview Highway and Clearview Text do not.

Quote from: J N Winkler
Are you sure that file was specific to Texas and not the FHWA Clearview supplement?  The filenames are the same.  The FHWA Clearview supplement presents the Clearview letters as rasters, probably to prevent glyph copying.

I have the Clearview supplement PDF with raster-based glyphs, but I'm pretty certain there was another version of it with the fonts embedded. I specifically remember being able to select the text with the text tool. Even with embedded vectors the font outlines would be a problem without a properly established baseline also included. These letters, as well as the Series 2000 fonts version, just had the letters scattered across a grid without the grid lining up to anything logical such as the baseline.

Michael Adams did a good job with his Road Geek fonts. I don't know if he had access to Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator would have done away with any need of rasterizing any font outlines. If a PDF has embedded fonts not installed on the computer viewing them the PDF can be "placed" into an Illustrator file (with the "link" box checked). The fonts will remain intact. The "flatten transparency" dialog box can be used to convert those font letter forms into vector outlines. Using that method Adams could have extracted perfect copies of the font outlines. However, he would have still had to go through the work of getting them placed properly according to baselines, cap height lines, etc.

Quote from: Zeffy
Yeah you can - they use GuidSIGN and SignCAD anyway, which makes it incredibly easy to design the signs. I think I read that SignCAD has a problem with Clearview and usually barfs out Arial instead.

The software isn't the issue. Regardless of how difficult or easy a company makes graphic design software to use the person doing the design work must still have an eye for knowing when a layout looks right or wrong as well as catching mistakes like spelling errors. A visually oriented person is always going to be a lot better at that.

Regarding Arial, I have a strong dislike of that typeface but an even larger hatred for how I see it misused on countless commercial business signs. The only thing positive I can say for Arial is it has a very extensive character set in the latest versions of Windows (broad foreign language support, native small caps, superior/inferior numerators, complete fraction sets, etc.). It's just still a pretty ugly typeface.

Quote from: J N Winkler
I have had reasonably good luck drawing guide-sign markers for Wisconsin, Oregon, and Minnesota state highways in CorelDRAW directly from the specs.  The only shields that have caused me problems so far are the Nevada state highway marker and the Minnesota county pentagon, and that is because both specify certain angles in a way that involves calculating points of tangency, which is very difficult to do analytically in these particular cases.

Not that highway sign spec books necessarily do this, but I've come across a lot of technical drawings over the years where people round up to the nearest 1/8th or 1/16th of an inch when showing numbers on a dimensions call-out.

CorelDRAW has given me the best results on drawing things like guide markers. However, I design them (and my other signs) at full size. The CorelDRAW art board can comfortably fit designs up to 1000" X 1000" before zoom limits start becoming a problem. I can always fire up Flexi if I need a larger work space. I can zoom into artwork far more tightly using CorelDRAW than I can Adobe Illustrator (264439% in CorelDRAW versus 6400% in Illustrator). Adobe Illustrator can specify object dimensions out to four decimal points versus three in CorelDRAW, but Illustrator has a maximum art board size of 227" X 227" which forces one to design a lot of things in scale rather than full size.

I do like Adobe Illustrator for its superior ability on opening & editing PDF files. Illustrator does a much better job of opening & creating SVG files. Illustrator is also far more integrated with Photoshop and After Effects. Both Corel and Illustrator are vital for my tool set.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 13, 2014, 02:57:32 PM
Michael Adams did a good job with his Road Geek fonts. I don't know if he had access to Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator would have done away with any need of rasterizing any font outlines. If a PDF has embedded fonts not installed on the computer viewing them the PDF can be "placed" into an Illustrator file (with the "link" box checked). The fonts will remain intact. The "flatten transparency" dialog box can be used to convert those font letter forms into vector outlines. Using that method Adams could have extracted perfect copies of the font outlines. However, he would have still had to go through the work of getting them placed properly according to baselines, cap height lines, etc.

I recall that he used a specialist font editor from Macromedia.  I am sure he was aware that he could have extracted the glyphs much as you describe, but made a conscious decision not to do so in order to head off copyright issues.  And, in any case, establishing the correct baseline, tile widths, and position of glyph within each tile would have been about 97% of the work.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on May 13, 2014, 05:43:45 PM
Michael Adams did a good job with his Road Geek fonts. I don't know if he had access to Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator would have done away with any need of rasterizing any font outlines. If a PDF has embedded fonts not installed on the computer viewing them the PDF can be "placed" into an Illustrator file (with the "link" box checked). The fonts will remain intact.

I did a similar thing with the Roadgeek 2014 fonts (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=12376.0), which I intend to be a replacement of the 2005 ones, but with no proprietary software, except for the font editor (FontForge, the only free font editor I know of, crashed quite frequently). My toolchain was: MuPDF to extract the fonts in CFF format, a CFF-TTF converter the name of which I forget, Inkscape to generate the rasters and trace them again, then FontCreator to actually put the font together.

I do like Adobe Illustrator for its superior ability on opening & editing PDF files. Illustrator does a much better job of opening & creating SVG files.

Better than? CorelDRAW, perhaps; Inkscape, not at all. Inkscape is the SVG editor (and it's open source!). It complies to the SVG 1.1 specification. Illustrator, on the other hand, exports SVG with some sort of Adobe metadata, which renders it invalid when opened in Inkscape (this came up elsewhere on the forum). The browser should render it with few to no problems though.

I am sure he was aware that he could have extracted the glyphs much as you describe, but made a conscious decision not to do so in order to head off copyright issues.

Right. You can't extract the glyphs directly (which is what Bobby5280 is suggesting), but you can rasterize then vectorize it again.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on May 13, 2014, 07:04:53 PM
Inkscape is the SVG editor (and it's open source!). It complies to the SVG 1.1 specification.

Inkscape isn't perfect in that regard either.  It writes properties like font-family: Roadgeek 2005 Series D; which, without quotes, is inconsistent with SVG spec and Firefox doesn't render it right. 
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 13, 2014, 11:05:08 PM
Quote from: Sammi
Better than? CorelDRAW, perhaps; Inkscape, not at all. Inkscape is the SVG editor (and it's open source!). It complies to the SVG 1.1 specification. Illustrator, on the other hand, exports SVG with some sort of Adobe metadata, which renders it invalid when opened in Inkscape (this came up elsewhere on the forum). The browser should render it with few to no problems though.

SVG is built upon Postscript, an Adobe technology. I've been using CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator both for over 20 years and have used Inkscape quite a bit. Maybe some of what I've been running into with Inkscape has to do with Adobe created SVG files. Nonetheless, Inkscape ought to be smart enough to look past any Adobe generated comments in the metadata. The Inkscape application itself pales greatly in comparison to CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator. But it's better than nothing.

Inkscape is what I recommend to so many amateur graphic designers looking to design a company logo or other similar items without having to spend a bunch of money on professional level graphics software. It pisses me off to no end how so many so-called graphic designers use Adobe Photoshop or other pixel-based image editors to create a company's logo. Their client is royally screwed when he has to make the stupid, clunky, pixel-based "logo" work in something like a lighted channel letter sign. Any logo's base version should be 100% vector and even vinyl plotter/routing table friendly. Vinyl cutters, routing tables and neon tube path making software don't understand pixels. They only deal with vector-based paths.

Quote from: Sammi
Right. You can't extract the glyphs directly (which is what Bobby5280 is suggesting), but you can rasterize then vectorize it again.

No. I didn't say anything about rasterizing the font glyphs. Using the Flatten Transparency dialog box in Adobe Illustrator you can convert the embedded fonts in any PDF to vector-based outlines. You place the PDF in linked form and then use the options in the flatten transparency command to convert the fonts into outlines. No rasterization is needed.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on May 13, 2014, 11:12:02 PM
Quote from: Sammi
Right. You can't extract the glyphs directly (which is what Bobby5280 is suggesting), but you can rasterize then vectorize it again.

No. I didn't say anything about rasterizing the font glyphs. Using the Flatten Transparency dialog box in Adobe Illustrator you can convert the embedded fonts in any PDF to vector-based outlines. You place the PDF in linked form and then use the options in the flatten transparency command to convert the fonts into outlines. No rasterization is needed.

Exactly. You can't do that. What you can do is rasterize and retrace the glyphs.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 13, 2014, 11:13:14 PM
Inkscape is what I recommend to so many amateur graphic designers looking to design a company logo or other similar items without having to spend a bunch of money on professional level graphics software. It pisses me off to no end how so many so-called graphic designers use Adobe Photoshop or other pixel-based image editors to create a company's logo. Their client is royally screwed when he has to make the stupid, clunky, pixel-based "logo" work in something like a lighted channel letter sign. Any logo's base version should be 100% vector and even vinyl plotter/routing table friendly. Vinyl cutters, routing tables and neon tube path making software don't understand pixels. They only deal with vector-based paths.

Reminds me of my years prior to high school where I first took a vector graphics class. My old process was opening up Photoshop and making a 6000x6000 image just in case I had to blow it up big-time. Of course, that whole concept is fatally flawed, so I'm glad that I now know better.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on May 14, 2014, 12:26:18 AM
Quote from: Sammi
Right. You can't extract the glyphs directly (which is what Bobby5280 is suggesting), but you can rasterize then vectorize it again.

No. I didn't say anything about rasterizing the font glyphs. Using the Flatten Transparency dialog box in Adobe Illustrator you can convert the embedded fonts in any PDF to vector-based outlines. You place the PDF in linked form and then use the options in the flatten transparency command to convert the fonts into outlines. No rasterization is needed.

Exactly. You can't do that. What you can do is rasterize and retrace the glyphs.

Nipping this in the bud: one in fact can copy the glyph outlines without rasterizing and retracing them, but this may violate the original font foundry's copyright, so if they have good lawyers, then no you “can't” do that.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on May 14, 2014, 12:31:45 AM
Nipping this in the bud: one in fact can copy the glyph outlines without rasterizing and retracing them, but this may violate the original font foundry's copyright, so if they have good lawyers, then no you “can't” do that.

Well. You can, but you may not. :bigass:

(What have you done to me, English teachers? :banghead:)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 14, 2014, 01:40:31 PM
One can't copyright the shape of a letter. But the unique way a typeface glyph is digitized is recognizable. A type foundry could examine how the glyphs are digitized. If the placement of anchor points, direction handles, etc. are identical with their letters they can prove it has been illegally copied. However, it doesn't take much effort to cheat that in applications like FontLab Studio. Rasterizing the glyphs and re-tracing them is an arguably crude work-around.

Quote from: jake
Reminds me of my years prior to high school where I first took a vector graphics class. My old process was opening up Photoshop and making a 6000x6000 image just in case I had to blow it up big-time. Of course, that whole concept is fatally flawed, so I'm glad that I now know better.

Even a 6000px X 6000px image is a hell of a lot better than the garbage I see all the time (although the file sizes can get pretty big). Too many people out there design a logo to look on a computer screen, complete with all the cheesy Photoshop bevels, drop shadows, OSX inspired glass effects and maybe even a lens flare thrown in for good measure. The image might seem pretty, but a 600px wide Photoshopped "logo" won't work well on very many things outside a web page layout.

Some people are complaining about the move to so-called "flat" design, a rejection of the skeuomorphism made popular by things like the interface elements in previous versions of Mac OSX. Honestly, most of the award winning graphic design I've seen for decades avoided as many cheesy, pretentious embellishments as possible, going for as much of a flat look as possible. One should add embellishments to a graphics item only when it is necessary. Embellishments and increased complication get in the way of legibility. It limits viewing distance or how small the element can be reduced. Nike's "swoosh" logo may seem very plain or minimal, but it can be reduced to a microscopic size on a page and still be recognizable. McDonald's "golden arches" can be noticed from a mile or more. Vector-based art fits in with that kind of scalability a lot better than pixel-based stuff.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on May 14, 2014, 01:49:16 PM
So would you say, Microsoft's current and old logos are GOOD examples of logo designing? The old Microsoft logo used Helvetica Black I believe, and had no fancy effects to it. In fact, it probably was made in a vector application, though I'm not sure what was available back then...

(http://www.creativereview.co.uk/images/uploads/2012/08/microsoft_logo_1.jpg)
versus:
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cb/Microsoft_Logo.svg/766px-Microsoft_Logo.svg.png)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vdeane on May 14, 2014, 04:59:58 PM
I much prefer the Win 7 Microsoft logo to the squares that dominate now.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: briantroutman on May 14, 2014, 05:31:00 PM
So would you say, Microsoft's current and old logos are GOOD examples of logo designing?

I would say Microsoft’s 1987 and current logos represent good logo design in the same way that a Toyota Camry is a good car. No glaring faults, but neither beautiful nor timeless. The old logo was “generic late ’80s corporation” (hence the need for a replacement), and the new one is “generic 2010 tech company”. It will likewise look out-of-date in 2025.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: JoePCool14 on May 14, 2014, 08:04:35 PM
The oldest logos look IMO messed up.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on May 14, 2014, 09:25:14 PM
When I hear "the old Microsoft logo" I think of the Blibbet, even though that was before my time.  The one with the butchered "o" is still "the Microsoft logo" to me.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 15, 2014, 09:54:09 AM
Quote from: Zeffy
So would you say, Microsoft's current and old logos are GOOD examples of logo designing? The old Microsoft logo used Helvetica Black I believe, and had no fancy effects to it. In fact, it probably was made in a vector application, though I'm not sure what was available back then...

Microsoft's new logo, as "plain" as it seems, it actually a very well thought out brand mark. At least when it is displayed correctly. I don't know what happened to that re-arranged lock-up of the new Microsoft logo, but the four window panes icon is not supposed to be stacked on top of the letters like that.

Microsoft's new logo is very clean. The somewhat Humanist type and its coloring seems friendly. The new logo is very legible. It's a very good tech company logo.

Microsoft's previous logo, dating back to 1987 was decent. It fit in with 1980's style, but perhaps with 1970's era "make the letters kiss" kerning. It might have been created in a vector drawing application. Postscript and the earliest vector-based applications were arriving on the scene at that time. The old logo seemed more threatening with its heavy, black, Helvetica-inspired type, complete with a Pac-Man mouth on the "O" looking to eat its competition.

Some design experts have gone as far as saying Microsoft's new logo and UI design in Windows 8, Windows Phone, etc. one-upped Apple in terms of applying a more up to date look to its products. And that's kind of amazing considering how many design people are ardent Mac fans. Microsoft didn't invent "flat design" (even Google was doing some of this stuff before Microsoft picked up on it). But Microsoft pursued this look before it arguably became a fad. Apple had to be dragged away from its 1999 era skeuomorphism look in OSX and iOS kicking and screaming.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on May 15, 2014, 11:05:06 AM
Some design experts have gone as far as saying Microsoft's new logo and UI design in Windows 8, Windows Phone, etc. one-upped Apple in terms of applying a more up to date look to its products. And that's kind of amazing considering how many design people are ardent Mac fans. Microsoft didn't invent "flat design" (even Google was doing some of this stuff before Microsoft picked up on it). But Microsoft pursued this look before it arguably became a fad. Apple had to be dragged away from its 1999 era skeuomorphism look in OSX and iOS kicking and screaming.

How is the flat look more up-to-date? Skeuomorphism really goes back at least to the Mac OSes of the 1980s; originally UI elements were ugly black-and-white, but as the hardware advanced, the skeuomorphs improved. I understand that there is a sense of "we don't need 3D UI elements to show that we are high tech" now that the technology is mature. This person's honest opinion is that Windows 8 is ugly, iOS7 is ugly, and many applications of the flat look aren't that pretty.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on May 15, 2014, 12:38:47 PM
Holy crap, why do Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Commons pretend these older two logos never existed?

(http://static.neatorama.com/images/2008-01/logo-microsoft.gif)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: briantroutman on May 15, 2014, 01:07:08 PM
Holy crap, why do Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Commons pretend these older two logos never existed?

And don’t forget the Microsoft Metallica logo from about 1980...

(http://logolives.dmagy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Microsoft_Logo_1980.jpg)

How is the flat look more up-to-date?

It’s a matter of differing philosophies. Think of it as if we had electric cars that played “vroom vroom” sounds as we pulled away from a traffic light. At first, it’s just a little crutch to make a generation of petrol-heads feel a little more comfortable with the new technology, but eventually, you realize that it’s a silly and needless practice. We’re driving a plastic pod with an electric motor—not a Plymouth Road Runner with a V8.

Another way to look at it is that you use a smartphone, tablet, or whatever to create, edit, or view content, and over designing the interface distracts from that primary purpose.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 15, 2014, 01:15:32 PM
Some design experts have gone as far as saying Microsoft's new logo and UI design in Windows 8, Windows Phone, etc. one-upped Apple in terms of applying a more up to date look to its products. And that's kind of amazing considering how many design people are ardent Mac fans. Microsoft didn't invent "flat design" (even Google was doing some of this stuff before Microsoft picked up on it). But Microsoft pursued this look before it arguably became a fad. Apple had to be dragged away from its 1999 era skeuomorphism look in OSX and iOS kicking and screaming.

How is the flat look more up-to-date? Skeuomorphism really goes back at least to the Mac OSes of the 1980s; originally UI elements were ugly black-and-white, but as the hardware advanced, the skeuomorphs improved. I understand that there is a sense of "we don't need 3D UI elements to show that we are high tech" now that the technology is mature. This person's honest opinion is that Windows 8 is ugly, iOS7 is ugly, and many applications of the flat look aren't that pretty.

Dieter Rams is a German designer known for his "10 Principles of Good Design". Of his 10 principles that could be applied to logo design...

Quote from: Dieter Rams, 10 Principles of Good Design
- Good design is unobtrusive
- Good design is long lasting
- Good design is as little design as possible

You can take these particular principles however you like, however, what I personally pull from these is that a logo has to be some shape at its most basic nature, and then can be dressed up accordingly at a later date. The Apple logo is a brilliant example of this philosophy...it's not obtrusive, it appears to be long lasting, and it's a decently simple as a design can get.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: roadman on May 15, 2014, 02:03:40 PM
My experience has been that companies engage in the practice of logo and/or packaging 'updating' for one of the following three reasons:

Because they already have enough of the market share that they feel they can force this change on the public (i.e. Microsoft);

Because they don't currently have enough of the market share and decide this change is the best way to increase it (i.e. Wendy's);

Because they want to disguise the fact they are now selling you a lower quantity of a product at a higher price (i.e. any national food brand).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 15, 2014, 03:05:47 PM
Companies change their logos to keep their corporate & advertising image from looking dated. It's either that or they're trying to fix something that doesn't work in their old logos.

Very few corporate logos stay relevant looking over two or more decades. Of ones that have been around for a long time, such as Coca-Cola, if the brand itself isn't tweaked just a little bit the product packaging definitely will be revamped. The stripe or stripes cutting through the Coca-Cola logo have gone through a number of different versions in the last 20 years.

Microsoft's 1987 logo was looking dated. So they changed it and did a good job with it. They didn't "force" the change on anyone. It's their logo. They own it. They can do whatever they want with it. Any company understands that a really bad change, like what The Gap tried a couple years ago, may be met with outright hostiilty from the public. So they understand they have some responsibility. Generally, large companies understand the importance of branding very well. Generally, small business does not. I see the worst looking signs and "logos" coming from a lot of small businesses.

In the case of Wendy's, their old logo with its wood type lettering was outdated. Its design made me think of little mom and pop restaurants that specialized in catfish and chicken fried steaks. Does one need to prefer country music in order to eat at Wendy's. Their old logo was speaking to a more limited demographic. Their new logo is definitely a big improvement.

One of my close friends is a restaurant manager. He has told me plenty about the food business. If a company wants to start selling USDA Grade D beef in their tacos, put "pink slime" in their burger patties or change the packaging size/shape/amount of chips in the bag they don't have to change the logo in order to do so. They just make the cost cutting change anyway.

Quote from: jbnv
How is the flat look more up-to-date? Skeuomorphism really goes back at least to the Mac OSes of the 1980s; originally UI elements were ugly black-and-white, but as the hardware advanced, the skeuomorphs improved. I understand that there is a sense of "we don't need 3D UI elements to show that we are high tech" now that the technology is mature. This person's honest opinion is that Windows 8 is ugly, iOS7 is ugly, and many applications of the flat look aren't that pretty.

Flat design is at least more legible. That counts for a great deal if the brand is meant to be put in print at tiny sizes or meant to be read at a significant distance on an outdoor sign. Bevels, drop-shadows, imitations of real world textures, etc. get in the way of legibility.

Designs that are more simple tend to stand up to time better. Apple's logo used to have that rainbow color thing in it. Now it's just a solid color; far more simple looking. The old rainbow version of the Apple logo looks very dated now.

Another serious problem with skeuomorphism is the illustrative symbols and textures it uses may be irrelevant with many viewers. For instance it might make sense to put an image of a Rolodex into a contacts list within an e-mail application, but there's lots of people who have never had to use one of those analog devices. Film strip symbols are used all over the place in photography and video applications. Again, there is a huge number of photographers and videographers that have never used film. Apple used a wood book shelf in its e-books app. Meanwhile millions of Americans are getting rid of space hogging physical books and book shelves.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on May 15, 2014, 03:19:41 PM
Bringing this back to Clearview, I would argue (again, from my honest opinion) that Clearview looks modern and Highway Gothic looks dated. Now, I'm not going to claim that Clearview is a substantial *improvement* over Highway Gothic, as I would raise lots of ire by doing so here. I'd rather see the font choice opened up and fixes made to improve legibility than to wholesale discontinue its use.

As for the points raised in response to mine earlier, I do understand these points. I still think Windows 8 and iOS7 are ugly.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 15, 2014, 03:21:34 PM
Another serious problem with skeuomorphism is the illustrative symbols and textures it uses may be irrelevant with many viewers. For instance it might make sense to put an image of a Rolodex into a contacts list within an e-mail application, but there's lots of people who have never had to use one of those analog devices. Film strip symbols are used all over the place in photography and video applications. Again, there is a huge number of photographers and videographers that have never used film. Apple used a wood book shelf in its e-books app. Meanwhile millions of Americans are getting rid of space hogging physical books and book shelves.

Not to mention that sometimes, these virtual counterparts are functionally identical to their real-life counterparts, and thus are subject to the same criticism that the real-life object is. Given that, if presented with a clean slate, the design should start from the ground-up.

I'd rather see the font choice opened up and fixes made to improve legibility than to wholesale discontinue its use.

Yes yes yes yes.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 15, 2014, 05:52:49 PM
Yeah, I think it would be ridiculous for the FHWA to simply ban the use of Clearview, particularly in states or cities where it is already in heavy use. Clearview complies with the rules from the latest MUTCD, such as having lowercase characters at least tall as 75% of capital letter height. Series Gothic barely complies with that (some characters actually fall short of the 75% standard).

If we're talking about highway sign designers getting confused by having access to two type families instead of only one then those sign designers who are getting confused really ought to be doing something else other than designing signs. Those guys would be absolutely lost in my job. I have lots of volume level clients with many different typographical standards and I have no problem maintaining design consistency -even if it's something I didn't even originally design. One project I've been working on lately has a mix of ITC Bookman and Bookman Old Style mixed in together in different places. If these guys can't keep Series Gothic and Clearview organized they would be lost trying to tell differences between those variants of Bookman, or things like the differences between Helvetica & Helvetica Neue or just plain Helvetica versus Arial.
:rolleyes:

If the FHWA wants to roll back standards to Series Gothic only they need to at least push for some improvements already. The FHWA and vendors of highway sign making software need to step into the 21st century when it comes to type handling. Clearview and FHWA Series Gothic are both deficient for all the typographical features they lack compared to contemporary OpenType fonts. Highway sign making software needs to fully support the features of OpenType.

In my commercial sign design work I sometimes need foreign language support in a given typeface, like Greek or Cyrillic character sets -or at least a complete set of accented characters. There's a much greater need of complete fraction sets or a superiors/inferiors numeral set for synthesizing any fraction. Small capitals character sets are very handy. I really like OpenType fonts that have lots of alternate characters and ligatures. They can solve spacing issues or simply make the layout look a lot better. That's especially true for script typefaces. A script typeface with lots of alternates will end up looking more like real hand lettering rather than a mere computer-based font.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on May 17, 2014, 03:49:43 AM
Why would you need a complete set of accents for FHWA Series fonts when the MUTCD disallows the use of diacritics on road signs? (Hell, you're not even allowed to put the apostrophe in "Tysons Corner".)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on May 17, 2014, 09:31:16 AM
Why would you need a complete set of accents for FHWA Series fonts when the MUTCD disallows the use of diacritics on road signs? (Hell, you're not even allowed to put the apostrophe in "Tysons Corner".)

/me points towards Québec
They don't. :bigass:
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on May 17, 2014, 09:40:50 AM
Why would you need a complete set of accents for FHWA Series fonts when the MUTCD disallows the use of diacritics on road signs? (Hell, you're not even allowed to put the apostrophe in "Tysons Corner".)

/me points towards Québec
They don't. :bigass:

Not to mention the several other non-English markets where one could potentially market a font.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 17, 2014, 01:34:50 PM
Why would you need a complete set of accents for FHWA Series fonts when the MUTCD disallows the use of diacritics on road signs? (Hell, you're not even allowed to put the apostrophe in "Tysons Corner".)

/me points towards Québec

They don't. :bigass:

Policy may have changed with the conversion to Clearview, but back when MTQ was using the FHWA series exclusively, policy was to borrow the diacritics from Univers.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on May 17, 2014, 02:44:45 PM
Why would you need a complete set of accents for FHWA Series fonts when the MUTCD disallows the use of diacritics on road signs? (Hell, you're not even allowed to put the apostrophe in "Tysons Corner".)

/me points towards Québec
They don't. :bigass:

Right, but the FHWA fonts were designed by the American government for American road signs. It's not likely that they would find it a good use of time and money to develop bells and whistles that the font's target audience is barred from using.

That's for the spec, anyway. It might make good sense for a type foundry to add those features to their implementation of the font. Remember, the type foundries make the actual TTF/OTF fonts from the specs just like you do. The government doesn't publish a One True FHWA Series Font file anywhere. If you can't find a TTF/OTF with the features you want, chances are it's just because it doesn't come out on the good side of a cost-benefit analysis.

Back on the topic of Clearview: Even if it dies, which seems likely, this probably isn't the end of typeface legibility improvement proposals. Eventually someone will learn from what Clearview did well and what it did poorly and draw another typeface that purports to improve on the old font. And FHWA will have what it learned from Clearview and be able to test it more thoroughly before approving it. So the next big font will probably have a marked improvement over both FHWA Series and Clearview before we ever see it.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: myosh_tino on May 17, 2014, 02:59:39 PM
Why would you need a complete set of accents for FHWA Series fonts when the MUTCD disallows the use of diacritics on road signs? (Hell, you're not even allowed to put the apostrophe in "Tysons Corner".)

Really?  I didn't know that and now I'm curious as to why apostrophes are not allowed.

There are signs along CA-87 that use an apostrophe when abbreviating "International"...
(http://www.aaroads.com/california/images087/ca-087_sb_exit_008_01.jpg)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: MikeTheActuary on May 17, 2014, 10:18:58 PM
Another example can be found in Colorado (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.771143,-104.814932,3a,75y,88.26h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sZBZ86IkAex3aq94IiCIRSg!2e0)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on May 18, 2014, 02:25:49 AM
Relevant MUTCD chapter and verse is 2A.13¶4:
Quote
Word messages should not contain periods, apostrophes, question marks, ampersands, or other punctuation or characters that are not letters, numerals, or hyphens unless necessary to avoid confusion.

Rationale is not given, but I would assume it's because the elements are small enough that they distract rather than aid comprehension at speed. It is probably along the same lines as USPS standards that require dropping punctuation and diacritics, as well.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: myosh_tino on May 18, 2014, 03:17:49 AM
Relevant MUTCD chapter and verse is 2A.13¶4:
Quote
Word messages should not contain periods, apostrophes, question marks, ampersands, or other punctuation or characters that are not letters, numerals, or hyphens unless necessary to avoid confusion.

Rationale is not given, but I would assume it's because the elements are small enough that they distract rather than aid comprehension at speed. It is probably along the same lines as USPS standards that require dropping punctuation and diacritics, as well.

To be fair, the statement you quoted from the MUTCD is a guidance statement rather than a standard statement.  The use of the apostrophe is discouraged rather than prohibited.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 18, 2014, 10:11:27 AM
I interpret the MUTCD provision as discouraging punctuation but not diacritical marks, on the basis that the composite of bare letter character and diacritical mark is itself a letter.  There are certainly plenty of placenames in the US (Peña Blvd., Española, etc.) where letters with diacritical marks are an essential part of the standard spelling.

In regard to apostrophes in placenames, the US Board of Geographical Names has a policy in place that discourages the use of possessive case in registered names, although some exceptions exist and the BGN has approved versions of some placenames both with and without apostrophe (for example, some registered placenames include "Martha's Vineyard" while others include "Marthas Vineyard").  Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, apparently.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 18, 2014, 11:43:03 PM
Quote from: Scott5114
Right, but the FHWA fonts were designed by the American government for American road signs. It's not likely that they would find it a good use of time and money to develop bells and whistles that the font's target audience is barred from using.

The American government might want to clue itself into the reality the United States is home to a LOT of people, places and things that are spelled using diacritics above the characters. Here in Lawton we have a lot of German residents and a rapidly growing Latino community. Both German and Spanish languages make frequent use of diacritic elements.

The traffic sign people should be glad they don't have to mess with Asian language type. I sometimes have to design signs using Korean or Chinese characters. That isn't easy to do when one doesn't speak/read either of those languages and has to go off handwritten notes from the customer. I'm just thankful I at least have OpenType fonts and applications that properly support OpenType so I don't have to create every glyph by hand.

Quote
Back on the topic of Clearview: Even if it dies, which seems likely, this probably isn't the end of typeface legibility improvement proposals. Eventually someone will learn from what Clearview did well and what it did poorly and draw another typeface that purports to improve on the old font. And FHWA will have what it learned from Clearview and be able to test it more thoroughly before approving it. So the next big font will probably have a marked improvement over both FHWA Series and Clearview before we ever see it.

Aside from all the testing and re-testing of the fonts, why don't they have a features list of what the typeface needs to do correctly before it is even designed?

For instance, since the FHWA insists on all caps treatment for cardinal directions, but with a larger capital letter, they should mandate a native set of small capitals included in each typeface weight along with the standard upper and lower case character sets. The current method of merely enlarging the first letter is graphic design stupidity. Such improvements would also involve making vendors of traffic sign making software to update the font handling of their applications to 21st century standards.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on May 19, 2014, 12:18:36 AM
From an idealist graphic design standpoint, that makes a fair amount of sense.  But how's the execution going to work? FHWA isn't likely going to get funding under this Congress to develop a fancy new typeface, whether it's done in-house or by a paid design firm.  And the feds don't typically demand specific things of an industry for free unless there's a pressing public safety concern.

Here's a practical idea for the cardinal directions large initial letter issue you keep bringing up: use Series E for the first letter and EM for the rest of the word, in about a 9:8 size ratio.  That's the way I'd do it if I were writing the MUTCD.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 19, 2014, 09:47:47 AM
Development of an up to date traffic sign type family doesn't necessarily have to be a government funded effort, or even controlled by the government for that matter. There are numerous type foundries and independent type designers who could craft a contemporary family that both looks better and functions better than FHWA Series Gothic and Clearview Highway.

The market for these kinds of typefaces is bigger than just traffic control signs. They can figure into way-finding sign systems in special urban districts, school & office campuses, hospitals, shopping centers, sports venues or any other large area that needs a sign system. Series Gothic isn't often used for these purposes since it's an arguably ugly, dated typeface and has a very limited set of features. Clearview has been used in some of these purposes, like the sign system within Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. Again, its feature limits and high cost relative to those limited features have prevented a lot of commercial sign companies from adopting it. A type family superior to FHWA Series Gothic and Clearview with a proper set of OpenType features would likely get a lot more use. There would be more bang for the buck.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on May 19, 2014, 10:26:31 AM
Development of an up to date traffic sign type family doesn't necessarily have to be a government funded effort, or even controlled by the government for that matter. There are numerous type foundries and independent type designers who could craft a contemporary family that both looks better and functions better than FHWA Series Gothic and Clearview Highway.

This really isn't complicated.

1. FHWA publishes a list of rules and requirements for fonts designed to be used for highway and roadway signage.
2. Private developers develop fonts and submit them to FHWA for approval.
3. FHWA approves or rejects the submitted fonts.
4. States and local jurisdictions select from the approved fonts.

The cost to the taxpayer is essentially nil (it should be essentially the cost of FHWA now). Pretty much everyone can agree that this is a proper function of government and a proper balance between government regulation and free enterprise.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: DaBigE on May 19, 2014, 12:09:59 PM
This really isn't complicated.

1. FHWA publishes a list of rules and requirements for fonts designed to be used for highway and roadway signage.
2. Private developers develop fonts and submit them to FHWA for approval.
3. FHWA approves or rejects the submitted fonts.
4. States and local jurisdictions select from the approved fonts.

The cost to the taxpayer is essentially nil (it should be essentially the cost of FHWA now). Pretty much everyone can agree that this is a proper function of government and a proper balance between government regulation and free enterprise.

There's something I am missing here...how is the cost "essentially nil?" Are said private developers creating these fonts out of the goodness of their hearts? Sure, there would probably be a competition similar to defense product development (e.g., the Humvee replacement), but the winner(s) ultimately end up getting paid via a contract for production. Creating and properly testing a font doesn't come cheap.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 19, 2014, 12:55:12 PM
There's something I am missing here...how is the cost "essentially nil?" Are said private developers creating these fonts out of the goodness of their hearts? Sure, there would probably be a competition similar to defense product development (e.g., the Humvee replacement), but the winner(s) ultimately end up getting paid via a contract for production. Creating and properly testing a font doesn't come cheap.

For some graphic designers, seeing their font across all road signs would be reward enough. Also, I've edited jbnv's list:

1. FHWA publishes a list of rules and requirements for fonts designed to be used for highway and roadway signage.
2. Private developers develop fonts and submit them to FHWA for approval.
3. FHWA tests fonts for real-world use ($$)
4. FHWA selects best font from tested fonts


You could always outsource the testing. Of course, that would be like outsourcing IIHS crash testing.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 19, 2014, 01:16:27 PM
In response to DaBigE's last post, I'd also query two assumptions:  first, that the typeface standards "need" to change, and second, that typeface R&D will continue unabated when the Clearview interim approval is withdrawn.

In regard to the first assumption, I think the failure both of Clearview and of parallel type experiments like the Georgia Font will instead prompt agencies to design around the limitations of the existing FHWA alphabet series.  Georgia has gone in this direction by junking the Georgia Font in favor of 20" UC/15" LC Series E Modified.  Clearview was heavily marketed as a way to continue using 16" UC mixed-case lettering for primary destination legend instead of moving up to 20" UC/15" LC Series E Modified, but now that Clearview is on the way out, I suspect many more agencies will just bite the bullet and put in the larger trusses they need to accommodate 20" UC/15" LC, using a prioritization system to front-load benefits and spread the expense out in time by upgrading critical locations first.

There are two reasons for this.  First, making the signs bigger is the "blue chip" way to help older drivers.  Second, once FHWA revokes the Clearview interim approval, many agencies will come out of the experience feeling that they were sold a bill of goods by the Clearview developers, and won't want to let another group of type designers take them to the cleaners again.

In regard to the second assumption, I think the failed experiment with Clearview and the things that came with it--the long-drawn-out ten-year partial phase-in, and the probably even longer phase-out that is to come--has already poisoned the well for the bodies (such as the TCD pooled fund study) that are responsible for allocating funding for further research into highway sign typefaces.  Clearview offered legibility benefits that are now increasingly felt to have been oversold and caused a mess when deployed through standard state DOT production channels--not just in terms of sizing issues on signing plans and on as-installed signs, but also in terms of guide signing left half-upgraded for extended periods of time.  The other reasons offered for continued type research, such as the development of a true small-caps set, make sense to graphic designers but won't convince traffic engineers working in a production environment.

Bottom line:  agencies won't want to take a chance on another debacle like Clearview, and this will focus funders' attention on spot improvements that save lives as opposed to innovations that require systemwide rollout in order to achieve benefits that are fairly small at the margin.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 19, 2014, 01:33:20 PM
For some graphic designers, seeing their font across all road signs would be reward enough.

It's definitely an ego boost, but for the Clearview developers it wasn't enough.  Despite their promise to relinquish IP claims if the typefaces were adopted nationally (a promise which they made in order to grease the wheels for the FHWA interim approval), they have continued to profit from the fonts.

Despite the foregoing paragraph, though, I don't personally believe that developer profiteering is the primary problem with Clearview.  To my mind, the main problem is that it is difficult to deploy, requires systemwide changes in order to maintain uniform appearance of guide signs, and Clearview 5-W (the most legible of the Clearview typefaces) provides at best a small improvement over FHWA Series E Modified since the latter is already probably quite close to the outer frontier of technological possibility in terms of unit legibility.

Quote
Also, I've edited jbnv's list:

1. FHWA publishes a list of rules and requirements for fonts designed to be used for highway and roadway signage.

2. Private developers develop fonts and submit them to FHWA for approval.

3. FHWA tests fonts for real-world use ($$)

4. FHWA selects best font from tested fonts

Jbnv has presented his scheme as a reasonable "third way" between the state and private enterprise, but I don't see it finding any takers.  Why create a local option in highway sign typefaces when the MUTCD already requires uniformity and there is no professional constituency in favor of local option per se (as opposed to a different type family, such as Clearview, for eventual rollout as a compulsory national standard)?  And now that Clearview has blown up in everyone's faces, who is going to fund the R&D?  This isn't the eighteenth-century chronometer competition--the winner of a typeface face-off is not going to be a transformative innovation, even in the narrow world of highway sign design.

Quote
You could always outsource the testing. Of course, that would be like outsourcing IIHS crash testing.

Pretty much all of the development and testing of Clearview was outsourced.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 19, 2014, 01:49:28 PM
Quote
You could always outsource the testing. Of course, that would be like outsourcing IIHS crash testing.

Pretty much all of the development and testing of Clearview was outsourced.

(http://i.imgur.com/esp7vEe.gif)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 19, 2014, 02:12:47 PM
Really.  Pennsylvania Transportation Institute--not part of FHWA.  Texas Transportation Institute--not part of FHWA.  Meeker and Associates--not part of FHWA.

This gets to another point in support of the unlikelihood of FHWA sponsoring a type competition:  Clearview was wished on it in the first place.  And now that Clearview has failed, FHWA now has fresh arguments it can cite in resisting rollout of new standard typefaces:  they must not only be better than the existing FHWA series, they must also be hit-it-out-of-the-park better.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 19, 2014, 02:43:25 PM
Really.  Pennsylvania Transportation Institute--not part of FHWA.  Texas Transportation Institute--not part of FHWA.  Meeker and Associates--not part of FHWA.

Just so we are clear, Ron's reaction after looking down was me realizing that you are correct.  :D

This gets to another point in support of the unlikelihood of FHWA sponsoring a type competition:  Clearview was wished on it in the first place.  And now that Clearview has failed, FHWA now has fresh arguments it can cite in resisting rollout of new standard typefaces:  they must not only be better than the existing FHWA series, they must also be hit-it-out-of-the-park better.

The FHWA needs to learn the art of refinement.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 19, 2014, 02:54:48 PM
Just so we are clear, Ron's reaction after looking down was me realizing that you are correct.  :D

Thanks--I wasn't sure I had understood the intended meaning, so I played it straight.

Quote
The FHWA needs to learn the art of refinement.

Apropos of this point, I think the likeliest direction for future type development--if any is undertaken--is the "Series E with Series E Modified spacing" concept.  It is already used (without, as far as I am aware, explicit official approval) in California, it looks similar enough to Series E Modified not to set off the pipe-and-slippers brigade, it has more open counters to fight halation, and TTI has already done a study on it.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on May 19, 2014, 03:48:55 PM
The cost to the taxpayer is essentially nil (it should be essentially the cost of FHWA now).
There's something I am missing here...how is the cost "essentially nil?" Are said private developers creating these fonts out of the goodness of their hearts? Sure, there would probably be a competition similar to defense product development (e.g., the Humvee replacement), but the winner(s) ultimately end up getting paid via a contract for production. Creating and properly testing a font doesn't come cheap.

Try reading and comprehending the entire post before responding. "The cost to the taxpayer is essentially nil." I wasn't talking about the development cost of the fonts.

Since you mentioned it, yes, people can and do develop stuff for free (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software).

3. FHWA tests fonts for real-world use ($$)
4. FHWA selects best font from tested fonts


You miss the point of my suggestion. FWHA sets the requirements based on what we have learned over decades of transportation. The market, not the government, determines what is the "best" font.

... the main problem is that it is difficult to deploy, requires systemwide changes in order to maintain uniform appearance of guide signs ...

And thus hardly anybody uses it. Maybe if one or two states adopted it, that difficulty would be resolved.  :pan:

... the MUTCD already requires uniformity ...

Which is obeyed with absolute compliance across all 50 states and their component jurisdictions.  :pan:

And now that Clearview has blown up in everyone's faces, who is going to fund the R&D?

Anyone who thinks they can profit from the endeavor. (See #2 in my list.) And if there are no such parties, then we ultimately end up with one font that everyone uses.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 19, 2014, 03:54:39 PM
Just so we are clear, Ron's reaction after looking down was me realizing that you are correct.  :D

Thanks--I wasn't sure I had understood the intended meaning, so I played it straight.

I shouldn't use so many gifs.  :biggrin:

3. FHWA tests fonts for real-world use ($$)
4. FHWA selects best font from tested fonts


You miss the point of my suggestion. FWHA sets the requirements based on what we have learned over decades of transportation. The market, not the government, determines what is the "best" font.
JN Winkler already cleared up for me previously that a third party determines the best font. Sorry. :cheers:
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: DaBigE on May 19, 2014, 05:45:16 PM
The cost to the taxpayer is essentially nil (it should be essentially the cost of FHWA now).
There's something I am missing here...how is the cost "essentially nil?" Are said private developers creating these fonts out of the goodness of their hearts? Sure, there would probably be a competition similar to defense product development (e.g., the Humvee replacement), but the winner(s) ultimately end up getting paid via a contract for production. Creating and properly testing a font doesn't come cheap.

Try reading and comprehending the entire post before responding. "The cost to the taxpayer is essentially nil." I wasn't talking about the development cost of the fonts.

Since you mentioned it, yes, people can and do develop stuff for free (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software).

Well shit...I had never heard of open source software before. :rolleyes: [/sarcasm]

Sorry, but nowhere in your original post do you mention about not including the cost of developing the fonts. You even quote a post about funding the development of fonts, so one would assume you're including that in your topic as well. Try framing your argument a bit better.

Development costs aside, I still stand by my original query, since there still are other costs associated with switching fonts...acquiring licenses, creating/changing dies (for those states who still use demountable copy), to name a few. Usually whenever the feds are even the slightest bit involved, so is a ton of $$$$$$pending. As they say, "there is no such thing as a free lunch."
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on May 19, 2014, 05:57:59 PM
A point that I'm not sure was made clear earlier: adoption of a lot of OpenType features is much easier said than done. Just because OTF provides a way to specify fancy font features in a file, doesn't automatically make those features deployable.  Of course the sign design software has to support these advanced features.  This alone is a fair amount of work, engineering the software to correctly implement features in the OTF spec and integrate that with what it does with the text; since it has to do more than simply display the text on-screen, it can't delegate this complexity to the host OS.  And then how many OTF features have to be implemented, and to what degree?  OTF has a lot of neat tricks.  If you're just going to do the bare minimum of work to support the features used specifically by a highway sign font and the specific way those features are used by the font, you might as well forego the complexity of OpenType, make the font file itself as simple as possible, and implement any advanced features as program logic in the design software.

And this is the best-case scenario, which assumes the sign design software directly drives whatever equipment cuts out or prints the actual signage.  In many cases, the software only produces a plan sheet, which is read by a human who fabricates the sign with varying degrees of automation.  This human probably then has to know how to implement all of the fancy OpenType features you want the sign font to include: ligatures, kerning, using the correct size & weight of glyphs in special cases like fractions and large initial caps…  Your best hope is if the fabrication shop has a computer-driven process, and even then the operator must be able to correctly set up the sign according to the plan sheet, and that computer has to have the same version of the font and all necessary OTF support.

To summarize: re-read the first two sentences.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 19, 2014, 06:59:50 PM
OpenType is not a new technology. It was first developed back in the mid 1990s. The technology has been widely available from the time Adobe released its first Creative Suite box set of software. OpenType is not going away. Most new commercial typefaces are now being released only in OpenType format. All this stuff should be enough of a clue for software developers, such as those behind apps like GuidSign, to update their applications.

Understanding just what to duplicate in a legend layout and then fabricate is just everday life in a sign shop. It demands attention to details and proper quality control. If someone is going to try to auto pilot his way through a sign design and fabrication project errors are going to happen. And that's 100% the sign guy's fault, not the fault of the font he was using.

Quote from: DaBigE
Development costs aside, I still stand by my original query, since there still are other costs associated with switching fonts...acquiring licenses, creating/changing dies (for those states who still use demountable copy), to name a few.

Modern signs don't need anything like stock letter dies, not unless you're doing something like making cast metal letters or injection molded letters (which no highway signs use). Sign designers create vector-based sign layouts. Those vector-based art files are then used to create flat letters on computer driven routing tables or vinyl cutters. I've seen a lot of big green signs where the legends have been made only of cut vinyl applied directly to the green sign panel with no separate metal pieces involved. The problem is some of these signs have the vinyl letters slapped onto the panel one letter at a time.

With all the talk of Clearview supposedly failing, I think what's really being exposed is many of the people involved in creating highway sign layouts and people tasked with fabricating the signs really kind of suck at what they're doing. The same people wouldn't cut it in a reputable commercial sign company.

Quote from: jake
For some graphic designers, seeing their font across all road signs would be reward enough.

Not for the amount of work this kind of type family would require. The best type designers wouldn't be doing that kind of work for free at all in the first place. The honor of getting published only thrills amateurs. Professionals get paid. If such a type family would be expertly designed it would require an expert or experts to do it. If a type designer is making any fonts for free he's going to be doing so as a "loss leader" to get people to buy other fonts -for instance making a couple weights of a "super font" free to download but charging a handsome fee for all the other weights in the type family.

Field testing with life size sign panels can be expensive, especially if you're going to use the same materials required in real highway signs. Only a big company, like Google, could stomach eating the costs of developing fonts such as that to make open source or, in this case, submit to the FHWA for approval or rejection. And in Google's case, they would only develop something like a new highway sign type family if they could tie it into Google Earth & Google Maps. No individual type designer could go to those lengths essentially for free with zero guarantee for any payment on the back end. He would go broke.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 19, 2014, 07:12:36 PM
Quote from: jake
For some graphic designers, seeing their font across all road signs would be reward enough.

Not for the amount of work this kind of type family would require. The best type designers wouldn't be doing that kind of work for free at all in the first place. The honor of getting published only thrills amateurs. Professionals get paid. If such a type family would be expertly designed it would require an expert or experts to do it. If a type designer is making any fonts for free he's going to be doing so as a "loss leader" to get people to buy other fonts -for instance making a couple weights of a "super font" free to download but charging a handsome fee for all the other weights in the type family.

Field testing with life size sign panels can be expensive, especially if you're going to use the same materials required in real highway signs. Only a big company, like Google, could stomach eating the costs of developing fonts such as that to make open source or, in this case, submit to the FHWA for approval or rejection. And in Google's case, they would only develop something like a new highway sign type family if they could tie it into Google Earth & Google Maps. No individual type designer could go to those lengths essentially for free with zero guarantee for any payment on the back end. He would go broke.

It's only now that I'm realizing how long Clearview took to develop. If a typeface designer were to be working completely on their own, it would take them, maybe 5-10 years?

My thought with the whole "reward enough" scenario would be, in a case where Google decides to design the next highway font, they already have damn near 50,000 employees. They take a small group of employees that are experts in typeface design (such as those who designed Roboto) and simple re-assign them. They would still be getting paid, but by Google in the form of the annual salary they are already contractually assured. Of course, the issue is when Google get's compensated. Larry Page probably doesn't want Google taking a hit in the nuts just because the FHWA wants a *better* font.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: DaBigE on May 19, 2014, 07:16:59 PM
Quote from: DaBigE
Development costs aside, I still stand by my original query, since there still are other costs associated with switching fonts...acquiring licenses, creating/changing dies (for those states who still use demountable copy), to name a few.

Modern signs don't need anything like stock letter dies, not unless you're doing something like making cast metal letters or injection molded letters (which no highway signs use). Sign designers create vector-based sign layouts. Those vector-based art files are then used to create flat letters on computer driven routing tables or vinyl cutters. I've seen a lot of big green signs where the legends have been made only of cut vinyl applied directly to the green sign panel with no separate metal pieces involved. The problem is some of these signs have the vinyl letters slapped onto the panel one letter at a time.

I'm referring to the BGSs that use letters that are riveted on (reflective sheeting applied to metal letter blanks). Many of those letter cutouts are still created with mechanical presses. Now if you have a laser or water-jet machine, all you have to do is change the source input file in the software.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 20, 2014, 01:49:57 PM
Some big green signs are still made with separate routed aluminum letters covered with white reflective sheeting. Such letters are easy to create with a standard computer driven routing table using 1/4" or 1/8" bits since the letters are pretty big. Laser or water jet based tables are really only needed for individual letters or parts that are pretty small or projects where various sign parts need to fit together very precisely -such as a lighted monument sign with push-through, edge-lit acrylic letters. A standard routing table can't make the letter corners tight enough.

I would be surprised if any highway sign shop was using mechanical presses and dies to stamp out Clearview-based letters. Chances are those letters are coming off routing tables or merely rolling out of vinyl plotters.

Quote from: jake
My thought with the whole "reward enough" scenario would be, in a case where Google decides to design the next highway font, they already have damn near 50,000 employees. They take a small group of employees that are experts in typeface design (such as those who designed Roboto) and simple re-assign them. They would still be getting paid, but by Google in the form of the annual salary they are already contractually assured. Of course, the issue is when Google get's compensated. Larry Page probably doesn't want Google taking a hit in the nuts just because the FHWA wants a *better* font.

In Google's case it could help them in terms of marketing. Their Earth & Maps apps are both heavily used in smart phones, tablets and personal computers. They could create a new type family with weights specifically engineered for traffic sign use and companion type families tailored to work in other environments, like smart phone displays, computer monitors, HDTV sets, the printed page, etc. That way a motorist would see the same type family on road signs and then also see it used in Google Earth & Maps or even other places like the Android UI, Google Play, etc. if they wanted to take things that far. They would have to develop one hell of a good type family to manage such a thing though.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on May 20, 2014, 02:00:11 PM
If that's their incentive, they could easily just use ClearviewOne or Interstate as their corporate font of choice. Not that they have much interest in doing so—they seem pretty infatuated with Roboto (which I dislike enough to have switched my phone's system font to Samsung Sans).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 20, 2014, 05:39:04 PM
Google wouldn't gain anything by licensing any of the Clearview families from Terminal Design or licensing Interstate from Font Bureau. Google is interested in Roboto since they had the font family designed in-house at Google. They would essentially need to do the same in-house approach if they wanted to tackle this highway sign fonts issue.

Roboto certainly isn't the prettiest typeface available; there are plenty of other type families I like viewing more. Some criticize it as being a Helvetica rip-off, even though it has obvious style departures from Helvetica & Helvetica Neue. Other typefaces like Nimbus Sans, CG Triumvirate or Bitstream's Swiss 721 are indeed Helvetica rip-offs since they're literally cloning the glyphs.

One thing I can say in Roboto's defense: it covers the bases a hell of a lot better than many more popular typefaces. Roboto has a satisfactory number of weights from Thin to Black, Each weight has more than 1000 glyphs, covering extended Latin, Cyrillic & Greek ranges, diacriticals on capital letters and native small capital letters, fractions and a complete set of inferior & superior numerals. I don't get as many of those features out of Helvetica Neue or Gotham.

The latest version of Arial has a huge wealth of typographical features (it goes well past the features set in Roboto). Still, I consider Arial poison for the eyeballs. I refuse to design any signs using it unless it is strictly specified by the customer.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 20, 2014, 06:26:36 PM
One thing I can say in Roboto's defense: it covers the bases a hell of a lot better than many more popular typefaces. Roboto has a satisfactory number of weights from Thin to Black, Each weight has more than 1000 glyphs, covering extended Latin, Cyrillic & Greek ranges, diacriticals on capital letters and native small capital letters, fractions and a complete set of inferior & superior numerals. I don't get as many of those features out of Helvetica Neue or Gotham.

I would consider that proof of Google's ability to design the font we are looking for. It would take years and years of work, of course, but they can do it.

Did you hear about Google's self driving car? It's been around for about five years now, but I think it's further proof that Google does dabble outside of the box sometimes.

The latest version of Arial has a huge wealth of typographical features (it goes well past the features set in Roboto). Still, I consider Arial poison for the eyeballs. I refuse to design any signs using it unless it is strictly specified by the customer.

Arial...why does it exist?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on May 20, 2014, 08:48:55 PM
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on May 20, 2014, 10:17:01 PM
Arial...why does it exist?

Because Microsoft.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 20, 2014, 11:56:48 PM
Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 21, 2014, 12:09:46 AM
Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.

Like with their self driving cars, the net benefit to Google (directly) might be very small, but the benefit to society could be immense, depending on the success of the font. And like you said, Bobby, if they decided to require licencing (unlike Roboto, like Clearview), they could make vast amounts of money.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on May 22, 2014, 12:23:11 PM
Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.

Maybe so, but there are ways to spend money on branding that have a far greater ROI than developing a typeface and getting it put on road signs.

Actually, most companies with a bespoke typeface don't want anyone else using it, since part of the reason for having their own typeface is that it makes them unique.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 22, 2014, 01:49:58 PM
Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.

Maybe so, but there are ways to spend money on branding that have a far greater ROI than developing a typeface and getting it put on road signs.

Actually, most companies with a bespoke typeface don't want anyone else using it, since part of the reason for having their own typeface is that it makes them unique.

Google's brand (the most valuable in the world (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-20-most-valuable-brands-in-the-world-2014-5#1-google-20)) is based on their products, not their typeface choices (IMO); the only two fonts they use, Roboto and Catull, are both available for free. Based on past practices, I don't see Google designing a new font, with emphases on distant readability, and not letting anyone else use it.

I'm not saying Google just floats with the breeze and lets companies basically steal their ideas, but generally speaking, Google isn't that litigious, and as such, they wouldn't want to develop something that the open-source community would not be able to freely use.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 23, 2014, 02:08:13 PM
I think Google could see some value in creating a new highway signs typeface that it could then use internally to make its maps & navigation software look more authentic. Some navigation apps for smart phones, in-dash systems, etc. try to mimic the look of big green highway signs and other traffic sign features in the interface. But they often do a poor job of it, delivering results that are either just look wrong or even cartoony.

The Roboto type family is free, even for commercial use. It can be downloaded from Font Squirrel, which only hosts free fonts with commercial use availability. Still, Google does have certain terms in the license in how the font files can be distributed.

The Catull type family is not free/open source. There may be a couple web sites offering free downloads of Catull. Those fonts are either pirated or clones of some sort. The Berthold type foundry owns the rights to Catull. Their latest version of Catull is the Catull BQ family, released in 2006 in OpenType format. Adobe used to sell an older Postscript Type 1 version, Catull BE, when they were licensing Berthold fonts for Adobe Font Folio and their graphics applications back in the 1990s.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 23, 2014, 02:20:09 PM
The Catull type family is not free/open source. There may be a couple web sites offering free downloads of Catull. Those fonts are either pirated or clones of some sort. The Berthold type foundry owns the rights to Catull. Their latest version of Catull is the Catull BQ family, released in 2006 in OpenType format. Adobe used to sell an older Postscript Type 1 version, Catull BE, when they were licensing Berthold fonts for Adobe Font Folio and their graphics applications back in the 1990s.

And that's why I consider you the resident typeface expert. I searched "Catull" in Google (lol) and I found it for free. Must have been pirates.  :pan:
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on May 24, 2014, 09:20:44 PM
Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.

Maybe so, but there are ways to spend money on branding that have a far greater ROI than developing a typeface and getting it put on road signs.

Actually, most companies with a bespoke typeface don't want anyone else using it, since part of the reason for having their own typeface is that it makes them unique.

Google's brand (the most valuable in the world (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-20-most-valuable-brands-in-the-world-2014-5#1-google-20)) is based on their products, not their typeface choices (IMO); the only two fonts they use, Roboto and Catull, are both available for free. Based on past practices, I don't see Google designing a new font, with emphases on distant readability, and not letting anyone else use it.

I'm not saying Google just floats with the breeze and lets companies basically steal their ideas, but generally speaking, Google isn't that litigious, and as such, they wouldn't want to develop something that the open-source community would not be able to freely use.

Right, but Google developing a road sign font still makes no business sense. Roboto was developed because Google needed a font for Android and Google Maps. It filled a need the company had. Google does not have any road sign font needs currently, and they have no possible reason for expanding into that market other than "it would be neat if they had the same font on Google Maps and on signs". It would be a lot easier for Google to just license Interstate or Clearview if they wanted to do that. Developing a font and getting FHWA on board isn't a good use of money.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Thing 342 on May 24, 2014, 09:32:21 PM
I think Google could see some value in creating a new highway signs typeface that it could then use internally to make its maps & navigation software look more authentic. Some navigation apps for smart phones, in-dash systems, etc. try to mimic the look of big green highway signs and other traffic sign features in the interface. But they often do a poor job of it, delivering results that are either just look...

Curiously, these systems almost never use the official FHWA fonts and graphics. It's not that hard to reverse-engineer the GMaps app to use the roadgeek fonts in its navigation prompts.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 24, 2014, 09:53:56 PM
Quote from: Scott5114
Let's be realistic though... Google has little way of benefiting from a road sign font. Sinking the cost of designing and testing a font and getting FHWA on board just so their products match a sign? How would that end up making them money?

It would be all about branding. Like I said, it would take one hell of a great typeface family to get the job done. But what if a company like Google, or Adobe or somebody else could manage such a thing?

A truly great type family can be a big money maker. And not only that, it can have a huge impact on the visual look of advertising. Helvetica is really one of the greatest typefaces ever designed, but it is also widely despised for its amount of over use all over the place. Graphics people set up funny challenges to people to see if they can cross certain urban environments without encountering Helvetica. That's a testament to the greatness of that typeface.

Maybe so, but there are ways to spend money on branding that have a far greater ROI than developing a typeface and getting it put on road signs.

Actually, most companies with a bespoke typeface don't want anyone else using it, since part of the reason for having their own typeface is that it makes them unique.

Google's brand (the most valuable in the world (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-20-most-valuable-brands-in-the-world-2014-5#1-google-20)) is based on their products, not their typeface choices (IMO); the only two fonts they use, Roboto and Catull, are both available for free. Based on past practices, I don't see Google designing a new font, with emphases on distant readability, and not letting anyone else use it.

I'm not saying Google just floats with the breeze and lets companies basically steal their ideas, but generally speaking, Google isn't that litigious, and as such, they wouldn't want to develop something that the open-source community would not be able to freely use.

Right, but Google developing a road sign font still makes no business sense. Roboto was developed because Google needed a font for Android and Google Maps. It filled a need the company had. Google does not have any road sign font needs currently, and they have no possible reason for expanding into that market other than "it would be neat if they had the same font on Google Maps and on signs". It would be a lot easier for Google to just license Interstate or Clearview if they wanted to do that. Developing a font and getting FHWA on board isn't a good use of money.

Would you agree with me that renaming Eugene's Beltline road to "Randy Pape Beltline" made no business sense? In the same regards, Google developing a new font might not make business sense, but in the end, it's just a nice thing to do. Google is worth a boatload of money, and given so much of it, they are allowed a great deal of flexibility with how they wish to spend said money. I think, given the correct circumstances, Google would find the time and place to develop this font. I'm not sure what circumstances would need to arise for such an opportunity, but I'm sure it will happen.

I don't know if I necessarily agree that Roboto was a necessary font, either. Apple has been doing fine with Myriad/Garamond/Helvetica, and Google was likewise doing fine with Arial/Droid Sans. Google decided to develop Roboto to help tie together their product line (IMO), but they could have easily done that by just using a lesser-used sans-serif font. Maybe it was cheaper to develop in-house than licence. But if that was the case, Apple should have developed their own font long ago.

EDIT: It's worth mentioning that the Droid typeface was developed for Android back in 2007. Not sure how that plays into this conversation, but interesting nonetheless.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on May 26, 2014, 06:58:10 PM
Renaming a street isn't done by a private business with a stated goal to make a profit, though.

Look, I get the point you're making, that Google has essentially infinite money and can and has done "nice" things with no immediate benefit for the company. But there are two things that make this different: 1) There is always a non-obvious benefit to the company somehow (free email with lots of storage, but it displays targeted ads based on the content of your email) 2) the benefit Google would get off of this is tiny compared to the enormous cost it would take to get TTI or similar institutes interested enough to test it, then get state DOTs on board, then FHWA, etc.

Clearview took literal years to get to the point where the Interim Approval was issued, and then it turned out to be not all that hot, so FHWA would probably draw on its experiences and require even more testing before the next big font got to that point in the process. Meanwhile, Google would be burning money on this project throughout that entire time (someone has to be promoting this font to the right people, and that dude probably wants a salary). It makes sense for a type foundry to do that since selling fonts licenses is their core business, and they would see a return on their investment from font sales (this is what motivated Terminal Design). But for a tech company which does not sell fonts as its core business to do it, and for free, just for branding reasons? That is career-suicide level insane. We're talking blowing tens of thousands of dollars on the off chance that Google will somehow make it up in profits because someone thinks it's nifty that the Android sat-nav app has the same font as signs. If they actually thought that would net them extra profit, they could do a FHWA Series implementation like Sammi's doing, or license Interstate, for cheaper.

I think we will definitely see another attempt at what Clearview was going after, but the chance that it will come from Google is vanishingly small. It's more likely that Terminal Design or a similar company interested in actually selling their font will attempt it.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: route56 on May 30, 2014, 12:22:53 PM
Spotted on H.B.'s facebook feed:

http://kxro.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/clearview-highway-font-not-clear-enough-for-grays-harbor/

From KXRO radio in Aberdeen, Washington: Gray's Harbor County was apparently denied a request to use Clearview, and the local FHwA Public Affairs officer quoted:

Quote
We plan on rescinding the interim approval altogether and are not approving further use of the font anywhere going forward.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Brandon on May 30, 2014, 12:29:33 PM
Spotted on H.B.'s facebook feed:

http://kxro.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/clearview-highway-font-not-clear-enough-for-grays-harbor/

From KXRO radio in Aberdeen, Washington: Gray's Harbor County was apparently denied a request to use Clearview, and the local FHwA Public Affairs officer quoted:

Quote
We plan on rescinding the interim approval altogether and are not approving further use of the font anywhere going forward.

I'd say this may be the end of Clearview.  If interim approval is rescinded, then all new signage installs in states with Clearview may well indeed be in FHWA font going forward.  Clearview may exist for several years afterward (as does button copy currently) as the signs age, but when they are replaced, they will most likely be replaced with FHWA signage.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Alex on May 30, 2014, 12:41:27 PM
Spotted on H.B.'s facebook feed:

http://kxro.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/clearview-highway-font-not-clear-enough-for-grays-harbor/

From KXRO radio in Aberdeen, Washington: Gray's Harbor County was apparently denied a request to use Clearview, and the local FHwA Public Affairs officer quoted:

Quote
We plan on rescinding the interim approval altogether and are not approving further use of the font anywhere going forward.

I'd say this may be the end of Clearview.  If interim approval is rescinded, then all new signage installs in states with Clearview may well indeed be in FHWA font going forward.  Clearview may exist for several years afterward (as does button copy currently) as the signs age, but when they are replaced, they will most likely be replaced with FHWA signage.

And expect new installs to continue in the interim for signs that have already been manufactured and for signing already under contract.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 30, 2014, 12:52:45 PM
I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.  I think some of them have developed Stockholm syndrome in relation to the DOTs they are supposed to regulate.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Brandon on May 30, 2014, 01:03:33 PM
I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.  I think some of them have developed Stockholm syndrome in relation to the DOTs they are supposed to regulate.

Like the um, *cough*, ones in *cough* California *cough*?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on May 30, 2014, 03:59:07 PM
I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.

Not to wax political, but I see a general and accelerating trend of states disregarding federal mandates, in some cases explicitly through legislation. Some states that switched to Clearview might switch back. However, others may keep using it for one of the following reasons: 1) We bought this thing, we're going to keep use it. 2) Our new signs look better than the old ones. 3) For Pete's sake, the feds dictate what fon we have to use on our signs?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 30, 2014, 04:17:59 PM
I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.

Not to wax political, but I see a general and accelerating trend of states disregarding federal mandates, in some cases explicitly through legislation. Some states that switched to Clearview might switch back. However, others may keep using it for one of the following reasons:...2) Our new signs look better than the old ones. 3) For Pete's sake, the feds dictate what fon we have to use on our signs?

I agree completely, but I'm wondering if it costs extra to move back to FHWA? Like Pennsylvania, right? They have and continue to use Clearview, and a majority of signs are in it now. Would it cost them extra to move back to FHWA? And that's a serious question, too...I don't have any idea.

1) We bought this thing, we're going to keep use it.

I remember when I asked WSDOT if they planned to move to Clearview, and besides them waiting for the FHWA to rescind interim approval, they told me the cost of the licences was extraordinary. I can't even imagine what Pennsylvania has spent on Clearview so far; going back to FHWA would be (monetarily) ridiculous at this point. I'd imagine Pennsylvania will continue to use it for a long time.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Alex on May 30, 2014, 04:18:33 PM
I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.

Not to wax political, but I see a general and accelerating trend of states disregarding federal mandates, in some cases explicitly through legislation. Some states that switched to Clearview might switch back. However, others may keep using it for one of the following reasons: 1) We bought this thing, we're going to keep use it. 2) Our new signs look better than the old ones. 3) For Pete's sake, the feds dictate what fon we have to use on our signs?

You can compare it to the federal mandate of Upper Lower fonts for street blades. Most places have already complied with this. Time will tell if states fall in line with regards to Clearview, or just blow off the mandate.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on May 30, 2014, 06:40:35 PM
I am actually not convinced all state FHWA offices will enforce usage of the FHWA series in new signing plans after the Clearview interim approval is rescinded.

Not to wax political, but I see a general and accelerating trend of states disregarding federal mandates, in some cases explicitly through legislation. Some states that switched to Clearview might switch back. However, others may keep using it for one of the following reasons:...2) Our new signs look better than the old ones. 3) For Pete's sake, the feds dictate what fon we have to use on our signs?

I agree completely, but I'm wondering if it costs extra to move back to FHWA? Like Pennsylvania, right? They have and continue to use Clearview, and a majority of signs are in it now. Would it cost them extra to move back to FHWA? And that's a serious question, too...I don't have any idea.

1) We bought this thing, we're going to keep use it.

I remember when I asked WSDOT if they planned to move to Clearview, and besides them waiting for the FHWA to rescind interim approval, they told me the cost of the licences was extraordinary. I can't even imagine what Pennsylvania has spent on Clearview so far; going back to FHWA would be (monetarily) ridiculous at this point. I'd imagine Pennsylvania will continue to use it for a long time.

I would imagine there is little expense associated with returning to FHWA fonts. Most sign-making programs were designed before Clearview existed, and Clearview support was added by an upgrade/extension to the program. To go back to the FHWA fonts, all that one has to do is turn the program's Clearview switch off.

As for licensing costs, all 50 states already have a copy of the FHWA fonts—they would have to for applications like regulatory signs, route shields, etc. which Clearview has never been extensively deployed to.

There may be some costs for states using demountable-copy Clearview signs (if such a state exists), if they maintain an inventory of characters rather than generating them as needed.

It is sad that DOTs spent so much money on ultimately-useless Clearview licenses, but those are sunk costs and spending any more on Clearview at this point is merely throwing good money after bad. On the plus side, font licenses are typically sold on a per-user basis, so the volume of Clearview signage doesn't correlate with how much was spent. (Actually, from an accounting point of view, Pennsylvania/Texas/Michigan/et al. probably came away with lower Clearview costs compared to other states since the cost of the licenses was amortized across so many different signage projects.)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 30, 2014, 06:47:18 PM
It is sad that DOTs spent so much money on ultimately-useless Clearview licenses, but those are sunk costs and spending any more on Clearview at this point is merely throwing good money after bad. On the plus side, font licenses are typically sold on a per-user basis, so the volume of Clearview signage doesn't correlate with how much was spent. (Actually, from an accounting point of view, Pennsylvania/Texas/Michigan/et al. probably came away with lower Clearview costs compared to other states since the cost of the licenses was amortized across so many different signage projects.)

I was thinking with the introduction of Clearview, that Pennsylvania sped up sign replacement, and in order to do that, hired more people to make signs, and in turn purchased more licences of Clearview than a typical state. Of course, that's a hunch and probably not the case. I am not at all familiar with Pennsylvania and their sign-replacement strategy and chances are good that I'm completely off.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: CrystalWalrein on May 30, 2014, 07:38:50 PM
I would expect that the federal government would give states the money to make up for what Clearview cost them once Clearview is officially snuffed.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on May 30, 2014, 09:01:41 PM
Why would they? Clearview was only given interim approval for testing. It was never an official part of the MUTCD. State DOTs knew exactly what they were getting when they bought into Clearview.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: briantroutman on May 30, 2014, 09:09:31 PM
I was thinking with the introduction of Clearview, that Pennsylvania sped up sign replacement, and in order to do that, hired more people to make signs, and in turn purchased more licences of Clearview than a typical state. Of course, that's a hunch and probably not the case. I am not at all familiar with Pennsylvania and their sign-replacement strategy and chances are good that I'm completely off.

I lived in Pennsylvania during the period in question, and in my experience, most new Clearview signs that appeared either were part of new construction projects or replaced aged text-only button copy signs. I don't recall gratuitous replacements of relatively young signs—just to get more Clearview on the roads. The relatively high percentage of Clearview signage across the state likely has more to do with the fact that PA was the first state using it—well before interim approval.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: hbelkins on May 30, 2014, 09:16:32 PM
A couple of observations ...

Kentucky uses demountable copy on its guide signs, but they are all done by contractors. I know that the signs for the new exit on I-71 near Kentucky Speedway were erected before Kentucky started using Clearview. The signs originally used only a route marker with no road name or destination town. However, later on the destination "Vevay, In." was added to the signs in Clearview.

The link to the ClearviewHwy web page I posted had the prices for the font. It is indeed pricey. However, I doubt Kentucky spent any money on the font because the only signs I've seen here in Clearview were erected by contractors.

It's interesting to note that there are lots of examples of negative contrast (black on yellow) on the ClearviewHwy web page.

I always got the impression that Michigan was the biggest user of Clearview and had replaced perfectly good signs with Clearview signs just for the sake of using Clearview.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PurdueBill on May 30, 2014, 09:50:05 PM
I'm surprised how they show Clearview on the ordering page in ways that were never approved on an interim basis (nevermind a permanent basis) with dark lettering on lighter backgrounds.  Seems like deceptive advertising to say it's "The only federally approved alternative to existing FHWA Standard Alphabets for Traffic Control Devices" without mentioning the severe limitations on proper approved use (not numerals, not negative contrast, not all-caps, and so on). 

(http://2pld4k1seiavz1ja53rzub4o0p.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/clearviewHwy_header1.png)

Sucks to be Michigan.  They even went and replaced perfectly good mile markers in many places with Clearview ones.  At least Ohio, while having gone too far with it, didn't go that far.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 30, 2014, 10:06:16 PM
I'm surprised how they show Clearview on the ordering page in ways that were never approved on an interim basis (nevermind a permanent basis) with dark lettering on lighter backgrounds.  Seems like deceptive advertising to say it's "The only federally approved alternative to existing FHWA Standard Alphabets for Traffic Control Devices" without mentioning the severe limitations on proper approved use (not numerals, not negative contrast, not all-caps, and so on). 

(http://2pld4k1seiavz1ja53rzub4o0p.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/clearviewHwy_header1.png)

Canada uses Clearview but has no restrictions on its placement, contrast, etc. The uses above are all acceptable.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PurdueBill on May 30, 2014, 10:14:10 PM
Did Canadian research show the same results (like Series C being MORE legible than its Clearview rough equivalent) as research in USA?   If not, and they are basing Clearview adoption on American research, then they are being very sloppy.

It strikes me as incomplete or misleading on the Clearview sellers' part if they present it as acceptable in all uses when it is not approved in the USA for anything but mixed-case destination legend.  Showing the Warning and Construction ones and sweeping it under the rug that those uses are not allowed in the USA seems unethical or at least shady.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on May 30, 2014, 11:08:02 PM
Kentucky uses demountable copy on its guide signs, but they are all done by contractors. I know that the signs for the new exit on I-71 near Kentucky Speedway were erected before Kentucky started using Clearview. The signs originally used only a route marker with no road name or destination town. However, later on the destination "Vevay, In." was added to the signs in Clearview.

Some of KyTC's consultants as well as KyTC itself will have had to purchase Clearview for sign design purposes, since some (but not all) KyTC signing plans are pattern-accurate.

Quote
I always got the impression that Michigan was the biggest user of Clearview and had replaced perfectly good signs with Clearview signs just for the sake of using Clearview.

Chris Bessert noted in 2006 (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/misc.transport.road/Clearview$20Michigan/misc.transport.road/EDKqFRnFXCc/b2yeYtsmwksJ) that Michigan DOT was replacing five-year-old signs using FHWA Series E Modified with new Clearview signs, citing US 131 between Grand Rapids and Mecosta County as one example.  However, MDOT has stuck to its official line that signs are replaced on a fifteen-year cycle (http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOTsec264_230178_7.pdf), so as far as I am aware, it is an inference that these apparently newish signs are being replaced because of Clearview and not because of some other reason that is not necessarily apparent from the road.  Also, at the time Chris made his post, MDOT had only just barely begun making plans available online through its Eproposals system, and it was not extended back in time to cover past projects, so there is no convenient way of pulling up documentation on both the 2006 and putative 2001 signs.

In Texas there has been an issue with some signs seemingly being replaced two or three times in the 12 years I have been following construction plans on TxDOT's Plans Online FTP server.  (The advance guide signs for Iraan/Sheffield come to mind.)  I have sometimes wondered if these apparently premature replacements are due not to field conditions, but rather clerical error of some kind.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on May 31, 2014, 12:31:22 AM
Did Canadian research show the same results (like Series C being MORE legible than its Clearview rough equivalent) as research in USA?   If not, and they are basing Clearview adoption on American research, then they are being very sloppy.

It strikes me as incomplete or misleading on the Clearview sellers' part if they present it as acceptable in all uses when it is not approved in the USA for anything but mixed-case destination legend.  Showing the Warning and Construction ones and sweeping it under the rug that those uses are not allowed in the USA seems unethical or at least shady.

I don't think they have the same stringent testing procedure as we do. They probably did a few quick tests, found it too be a hair more legible, and decided further testing wasn't necessary and put the money saved towards implementation.

Here's a document (http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/publications/Circulars/All/T_Circ/2006/t15-06_v3.pdf) from the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation regarding Clearview. It's dated 5 September 2006:

Quote from: Dirk Nyland, P.Eng. -- Chief Engineer, BCMOT
Purpose:
 
This Technical Circular documents recent updates to new Font standards used on all classes of MoT signs (Regulatory, Warning, Information, Guide, etc.) and reflective Sheeting standards used on guide and custom signs.
 
Background:
 
The Clearview font family will be the Ministry of Transportation’s (MoT) new standard for text lettering on signs. The Clearview Type Font System was developed to increase the legibility and recognition of road signs. The new typeface created by Clearview Fonts “opens” the shape of individual letters without changing the actual letter height or width. This change provides a typical 20% improvement in legibility and recognition for road users without the need for larger signs and larger structures. Clearview Fonts will only be used on those Ministry signs utilizing (as a minimum) ASTM Type 9 sheeting material.
 
ASTM Type 9/3 and Type 9/9 will now be used on all guide and custom signs. ASTM Type 3 and ASTM Type 9 sheeting are sheeting standards similar in performance to 3M’s High Intensity and Diamond Grade sheeting once used exclusively by the Ministry. The higher retro-reflectivity standard will improve night legibility on both shoulder and overhead signs. Another benefit of improved sheeting quality is greater durability against the long term effects of weathering.
 
Scope and Application:
 
The most up-to-date MoT sign records that indicate which signs (Regulatory, Warning, Information, Guide, etc.) will be upgraded to the Clearview font family can be found at the following MoT website; http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/publications/eng_publications/geomet/geometsigns.htm
 
For all OVERHEAD Guide Signs, the new reflectivity level is ASTM Type 9/9. For all SHOULDER-MOUNTED Guide Signs, the new reflectivity level is ASTM Type 9/3. As such, text and graphics will now be cut from ASTM Type 9 sheeting.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on May 31, 2014, 10:47:29 AM
Speaking of Clearview's website, I thought these two pictures were...wonderful...

(http://2pld4k1seiavz1ja53rzub4o0p.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/cooper-hewitt.png)
I didn't think that guide signs were mounted on iron gates like these.

(http://cdn.cooperhewitt.org/2011/30/image003.jpg)

YUCK, but that's beside the point. Anyone notice the arrow looks like it's straight from the Roadgeek 2005 Arrows (1/2) font?  :-D
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on May 31, 2014, 10:53:48 AM
Anyone notice the arrow looks like it's straight from the Roadgeek 2005 Arrows (1/2) font?  :-D

That's the MUTCD "standard arrow". It looks to spec, but for the wrong arrow. That should be a Type A arrow.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: mcdonaat on June 01, 2014, 10:49:19 PM
Hate to be the odd one out, but I think Clearview does add some advantages - mainly, when dealing with "I" vs "l" and with the curls on the bottom. I also think it looks better in mixed case than the standard FHWA alphabets for guide signs and Series D and E(M) signs. However, I still prefer it for Series C and B, especially for distance signs on state highways (Leesville 21, Alexandria 51, etc), and directional signage on your everyday signs.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Pete from Boston on June 01, 2014, 11:14:01 PM
The biggest problems I see in most states are sloppy signmaking and inconsistency within jurisdictions. Those are going to exist with or without Clearview.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 02, 2014, 01:56:25 AM
Hate to be the odd one out, but I think Clearview does add some advantages - mainly, when dealing with "I" vs "l" and with the curls on the bottom. I also think it looks better in mixed case than the standard FHWA alphabets for guide signs and Series D and E(M) signs. However, I still prefer it for Series C and B, especially for distance signs on state highways (Leesville 21, Alexandria 51, etc), and directional signage on your everyday signs.

A recent experiment has shown no improvement over the traditional fonts.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: seicer on June 02, 2014, 07:19:31 AM
Where?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Arkansastravelguy on June 02, 2014, 10:27:06 AM

Hate to be the odd one out, but I think Clearview does add some advantages - mainly, when dealing with "I" vs "l" and with the curls on the bottom. I also think it looks better in mixed case than the standard FHWA alphabets for guide signs and Series D and E(M) signs. However, I still prefer it for Series C and B, especially for distance signs on state highways (Leesville 21, Alexandria 51, etc), and directional signage on your everyday signs.

I detest those L's, they look awful IMO. Eliminate Clearview!!!


iPhone
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 02, 2014, 03:07:02 PM
Where?

Texas A&M: http://d2dtl5nnlpfr0r.cloudfront.net/tti.tamu.edu/documents/TTI-2014-3.pdf
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Pete from Boston on June 02, 2014, 11:23:55 PM
In whatever form these discussions happen in 30 years from now, people will lament the dwindling Clearview like they do button copy today.

Of course, by then, posting 15-foot green panels with nearby places in huge letters for human eyes to read from a distance may end up seeming quaint, so who knows.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: formulanone on June 03, 2014, 08:40:38 AM
There will only be as much lament as there will be a desire for nostalgia of those long-lost days. Still, if there's just a few scattered about twenty years from now, they'll probably be interesting finds to discuss.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on June 03, 2014, 03:51:41 PM
mainly, when dealing with "I" vs "l" and with the curls on the bottom

that's not really a pair that leads to real-world confusion.  no one will think "oh, I wonder why they spelled Alexandria with two consecutive uppercase vowels to start".

the real weakness of Highway Gothic is that Series E "4" looks much like Series E "6".  yep, I've gotten a ticket for that.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: 1 on June 03, 2014, 03:55:56 PM
mainly, when dealing with "I" vs "l" and with the curls on the bottom
that's not really a pair that leads to real-world confusion.  no one will think "oh, I wonder why they spelled Alexandria with two consecutive uppercase vowels to start".

But then we get lllinois instead of Illinois.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on June 03, 2014, 04:07:41 PM

But then we get lllinois instead of Illinois.

that sucks mildly, but it isn't as bad, aesthetically speaking, as some of the Clearview glyphs.  the numbers come to mind.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 04, 2014, 03:19:42 PM
While it's certainly possible the advocates for Clearview pumped up their visibility improvement numbers, I'm pretty suspicious these numbers have been spun in the other direction to support an anti-Clearview agenda. Experimenting in Photoshop isn't the most scientific method, but I can size legends in Clearview and Series Gothic at the same cap height and do a Gaussian blur exercise. Clearview holds up to a greater degree of blur than Series Gothic, mostly due to the significantly larger lowercase character set and style differences in some of the glyphs -like those "feet" on the lower case "l" characters.

Honestly, it's all coming down to two things: Money and nostalgia. The price of the font licenses is one thing. Using Clearview correctly can also mean using some larger sign panels, which cost more money. If anything I've been watching state agencies cut corners on sign panels -like some of the really stupid ones ODOT installed here in Lawton along Rogers Lane (Clearview legends crammed into panels far too small to support them with proper spacing totally gone). Those signs are smaller and cheaper than the ones they replaced. But I wouldn't be surprised to see some people blame the typeface rather than the sign designer or manager who chose the specifications for the sign panel.

I'm not the slightest bit afraid to say FHWA Series Gothic is a mostly ugly typeface. The numerals are fine. But I don't like a lot of the characters, particularly some of the lower case characters. The type family has deficiencies that need to be fixed. If interim approval of Clearview is to be revoked then the FHWA needs to go back to the drawing board and properly refine Series Gothic, especially if they're attached to that type family out of subjective reasons, like preserving nostalgia.

Clearview is an obviously more contemporary, modern looking typeface. Even though some people may not like it, the glyphs do maintain a more consistent style and it looks less clunky than Series Gothic.

The bigger concern I have, particularly here in Oklahoma, is a serious issue of quality control in designing and manufacturing highway signs. I looked at a FAQ page the FHWA put up regarding proper and improper use of Clearview. They had plenty of sign photos showing examples of improper use. To me, that's a pretty big indictment of various highway sign agencies. Do they have civil engineers designing these things or flunkies getting paid Walmart wages?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 04, 2014, 06:20:47 PM
I don't think there is any spin going on here. The study's result was that Clearview does not show a "statistically significant" improvement over FHWA Series in terms of legibility. It seems that they are about on par, or that Clearview is better in some situations and worse in others. In the study, it seemed like people had some problems with the Clearview numerals in particular.

Which glyphs, in particular, do you feel "need to be fixed"? I have heard from several people that the FHWA fonts are "clunky" or "outdated/less modern" or "ugly", but I've never really heard specifics as to why they feel that way. I will agree that on most series, the lowercase "w" is ghastly, but that's the only character in particular I have noticed as being particularly ugly. It should be noted that while the uppercase characters were designed back in the 1940s, for all series other than E(M), the lower-case letters were designed much more recently (I want to say 2000 or so). I understand that "modern" fonts usually incorporate variance in stroke width as Clearview does, but I would guess that a consistent stroke width is more legible.

As mentioned before, vanilla Series E glyphs contain larger counter spaces than E(M), so you might consider how Series E fares in the Gaussian blur tests if you haven't already.

I agree that the most pressing need in sign improvement is not to the typeface, but rather to the actual design of the sign. A lot of signs, especially in Oklahoma, appear to be drawn up by someone who is ignorant of the basic tenets of design. Some states are better at this—take a trip on a KDOT-maintained freeway (i.e. not the Turnpike), and it's hard to believe that they're even following the same manual as ODOT.

With regard to I/l from above—in FHWA Series, lowercase l has a slanted top, while uppercase I does not. So "Illinois" and "IIIinois" and "lllinois" would look different.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on June 04, 2014, 06:28:08 PM
Comparison of how both Clearview and FHWA Series E differentiate between the I and l situation:

(http://i.imgur.com/oLYP3fX.png)

Top is Series E, bottom is Clearview 5-W.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on June 04, 2014, 06:47:29 PM
Comparison of how both Clearview and FHWA Series E differentiate between the I and l situation:

Top is Series E, bottom is Clearview 5-W.

At 75 mph/120 km/h, the bottom is definitely clearer, in my opinion.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on June 04, 2014, 06:49:57 PM
the lowercase "w" is ghastly


how accurate are the lowercase "w" glyphs in the Roadgeek set?  I just looked, and Series D "w" is wider than Series E!
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Brandon on June 04, 2014, 06:59:44 PM
Comparison of how both Clearview and FHWA Series E differentiate between the I and l situation:

Top is Series E, bottom is Clearview 5-W.

At 75 mph/120 km/h, the bottom is definitely clearer, in my opinion.

They both make the Is look different from the ls at high speed.  Clearview is too much like Transport, IMHO, and is just as ugly as well.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on June 04, 2014, 07:07:59 PM
Comparison of how both Clearview and FHWA Series E differentiate between the I and l situation:

Top is Series E, bottom is Clearview 5-W.

At 75 mph/120 km/h, the bottom is definitely clearer, in my opinion.

They both make the Is look different from the ls at high speed.  Clearview is too much like Transport, IMHO, and is just as ugly as well.

Well, we definitely differ there...Transport is my favorite road sign font. Second is DIN 1451. Third, Clearview. Fourth, FHWA.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on June 04, 2014, 09:15:32 PM
Experimenting in Photoshop isn't the most scientific method, but I can size legends in Clearview and Series Gothic at the same cap height and do a Gaussian blur exercise.

Gaussian blur isn't a very good simulator.  You really want a circular-aperture blur, which isn't implemented in most image editors because it's not a fast effect to compute.  A square-aperture blur is easier to compute and might be a close substitute (In Paint Shop Pro the command for that is Effects > Blur > Average).  You also need to be mindful of the nonlinear nature of sRGB, and for a good optical blur simulation, the calculation needs to be done in a linear-light colorspace.  If the image editor doesn't offer such a choice of working colorspace, the result can be approximated in sRGB by applying a gamma correction of .45, performing the blur, then applying a gamma correction of 2.2.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: maplestar on June 05, 2014, 05:05:33 AM
They both make the Is look different from the ls at high speed.  Clearview is too much like Transport, IMHO, and is just as ugly as well.

I don't see it. The difference in the Series E example is so subtle that I don't think I could even see it until I was very close to the sign!
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 05, 2014, 05:58:07 AM
Really, though, as stated upthread, there's seldom an instance where I/l is actually confusing. Lowercase l typically doesn't appear at the beginning of words.

I want to say that back when button copy was a thing, there was an I with serifs that popped up occasionally in Oklahoma, mainly for things like "I-" in textual references to Interstates, where it could be confused with a 1.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on June 05, 2014, 11:16:44 AM
They both make the Is look different from the ls at high speed.  Clearview is too much like Transport, IMHO, and is just as ugly as well.
Well, we definitely differ there...Transport is my favorite road sign font. Second is DIN 1451. Third, Clearview. Fourth, FHWA.

I'm with Jake here. I like Clearview. I'd like to see Transport on American signs. I dread the thought of Clearview being removed and replaced with FHWA.

I have heard from several people that the FHWA fonts are "clunky" or "outdated/less modern" or "ugly", but I've never really heard specifics as to why they feel that way.

Well, it's like porn--you can't describe it, but you know it when you see it. Perhaps my preference for Clearview and Transport stems from the fact that I am a software developer and heavy computer user. Maybe it's because I hold the Texas highway system in such high esteem.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on June 05, 2014, 11:35:33 AM
Perhaps my preference for Clearview and Transport stems from the fact that I am a software developer and heavy computer user.

I prefer the FHWA fonts.

(http://i.imgur.com/PZRWvjd.png)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: on_wisconsin on June 05, 2014, 11:37:06 AM
They both make the Is look different from the ls at high speed.  Clearview is too much like Transport, IMHO, and is just as ugly as well.
Well, we definitely differ there...Transport is my favorite road sign font. Second is DIN 1451. Third, Clearview. Fourth, FHWA.
I'm with Jake here. I like Clearview. I'd like to see Transport on American signs. I dread the thought of Clearview being removed and replaced with FHWA.

Same here as well. The feds should give Transport and DIN fonts a fair shake over here. Also, the thought of reverting all current Clearview signs back to E-modifed is just waste and a lost opportunity to try different typefaces in the real world.


Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on June 05, 2014, 11:40:05 AM
Perhaps my preference for Clearview and Transport stems from the fact that I am a software developer and heavy computer user.

I prefer the FHWA fonts.

(http://i.imgur.com/PZRWvjd.png)

I agree with this post. FHWA was meant for road signs, and I'm glad it will remain on our signs here in the United States. If legibility is a concern - just drop EM and use E half-modified with spacing adjusted to Series EM. Problem solved.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Pete from Boston on June 05, 2014, 12:22:43 PM
My preference:

Pick one already.

Then, teach people how to use it properly, and adopt this thing called "quality control."  Stop hanging up signs that are obviously shittily composed.  Have basic skills tests for those involved. 

If only the font was the biggest problem.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on June 05, 2014, 12:40:01 PM
Perhaps my preference for Clearview and Transport stems from the fact that I am a software developer and heavy computer user.

I prefer the FHWA fonts.

(http://i.imgur.com/PZRWvjd.png)

I'm not making an argument. Frankly, most of this discussion boils down to personal taste with a little bit of science thrown in. Personal taste is a bad reason for choosing one font over another, whereas legibility is a rather vital reason in choosing a font for road signage.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: hbelkins on June 05, 2014, 03:07:42 PM
Sometimes I think I'm the only one who does not become apoplectic when Helvetica or Arial or some other font shows up on a road sign.

Last week, someone posted a picture in a Facebook group of US 15 signs in North Carolina with the numbers in Franklin Gothic, and the response was immediate and horrified, with people saying Franklin Gothic doesn't belong on road signs.

Why not? Just because we've been conditioned to seeing a certain font on signs doesn't mean that other fonts are wrong, or don't belong.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on June 05, 2014, 04:42:41 PM
Sometimes I think I'm the only one who does not become apoplectic when Helvetica or Arial or some other font shows up on a road sign.

Last week, someone posted a picture in a Facebook group of US 15 signs in North Carolina with the numbers in Franklin Gothic, and the response was immediate and horrified, with people saying Franklin Gothic doesn't belong on road signs.

Why not? Just because we've been conditioned to seeing a certain font on signs doesn't mean that other fonts are wrong, or don't belong.

I agree wholeheartedly. Much of the argument on here is rooted in the love of the bygone road heyday, which I have no attachment to personally.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 10, 2014, 12:58:30 AM
Sorry for the delayed response. I've been incredibly busy the past few days. Trying to catch up.

(http://i.imgur.com/oLYP3fX.png)

Regarding Zeffy's Illinois example, I don't think it's very fair. The two legends are sized at the same horizontal width rather than the same cap letter height. Normally sign letters are specified according to capital letter height, not overall legend width.

(http://i.imgur.com/hxADYvs.jpg)

Here is another example of the "Illinois" legend set in Clearview Highway 5W and FHWA Series Gothic E. But in this example both legends are set at the same capital letter height rather than both legends set at identical lengths. Clearview Highway has a significantly larger lowercase letter range. The Clearview lowercase letters are around 7/8 the size of the uppercase letters. Most of the FHWA Series Gothic lowercase letters are just under 3/4 the size of the uppercase letters. And that actually makes their letters insufficiently small in terms of the latest MUTCD requirements of lowercase letters being at least 3/4 the height of the uppercase letters.

At any rate, Clearview Highway done properly is going to be quite a bit more legible than FHWA Series Gothic, but it is going to come at a cost of longer sign panels.

Quote from: Scott5114
Which glyphs, in particular, do you feel "need to be fixed"? I have heard from several people that the FHWA fonts are "clunky" or "outdated/less modern" or "ugly", but I've never really heard specifics as to why they feel that way. I will agree that on most series, the lowercase "w" is ghastly, but that's the only character in particular I have noticed as being particularly ugly. It should be noted that while the uppercase characters were designed back in the 1940s, for all series other than E(M), the lower-case letters were designed much more recently (I want to say 2000 or so). I understand that "modern" fonts usually incorporate variance in stroke width as Clearview does, but I would guess that a consistent stroke width is more legible.

Glyphs I don't like in FHWA Series Gothic.

In the uppercase range I think the "G" is downright terrible. It stinks in the Series E weight and it only gets worse as the weights get more narrow. The "O" is funky looking. Honestly, the uppercase "S" the only curved letter in FHWA Series Gothic that looks the slightest bit attractive at all. Normally a typeface should retain some harmony in its angled A, K, M, N, V, W, X, Y and Z characters. FHWA Series Gothic has none of this harmony. And in the area where it's most expected, between the V and W characters, the angles have no resemblance to each other. The "v" and "w" relationship is better in the lowercase range, but too many of the lowercase letters have all sorts of clunky, crooked looking issues. Overall, it's just a butt-ugly looking typeface. Familiarity and nostalgia are the only factors helping it.

Some people here like to take pot shots at Font Bureau's Interstate type family, but all of its curved letters are way better drawn than those in FHWA Series Gothic. The V & W relationship still kind of stinks. But even Interstate's numerals look better. Unfortunately Interstate is not a workable substitute for FHWA Series Gothic. It's not so much to do with the typeface having improper spacing as much as it does with it lacking all the appropriate widths from very condensed to semi-extended. 

In terms of aesthetics, Clearview Highway easily has FHWA Series Gothic beat hands down in terms of glyph harmony. While there is a lot of nostalgia reserved for the 1950's era typeface, technically and artistically it is inferior to Clearview.

The numerals are the only thing going for FHWA Series Gothic. And even there, not all the numerals are all that great. The "2" is pretty weird on that curve down towards the flat terminal on the bottom. The "6" is pretty odd looking at any weight. The "8" is out of balance with its squished top oval and the round bottom oval.

Quote from: hbelkins
Sometimes I think I'm the only one who does not become apoplectic when Helvetica or Arial or some other font shows up on a road sign.

I use Helvetica Neue a LOT on various kinds of institutional and way-finding signs. The wealth of weights and widths combined with its very clean and neutral appearance just make it work for so many things. Perhaps that's one reason why some designers hate Helvetica with such a passion. Designers try a lot of different typefaces to see if they'll fit in a project and then after all that experimentation they end up gnashing their teeth and reverting to Helvetica. The work has to get done already and Helvetica works for so many things.

But with that being said, Helvetica doesn't work for traffic signs. The characters are too "closed" and the spacing is just too tight.

On the other hand I just detest Arial. Even though the latest version probably has over 1,000 glyphs I still can't stand how it looks. It's just a much more ugly looking typeface made to fit Helvetica spacing proportions.

IMHO, those states who already spent the money converting to Clearview ought to be able to keep using it if they feel like doing so. Otherwise FHWA Series Gothic should be the default traffic signs typeface.

However, if the powers that be want FHWA Series Gothic to truly perform at Clearview levels they will need to completely redraw that type family and deliver new "cuts" of it. The current cuts kind of suck. And they're missing a lot of features. Add to that the fact the lowercase letters fall just short of that 3/4 cap letter height requirement. If they want the lowercase letters to be something like 7/8 the cap letter height like Clearview they'll really have to redraw the whole thing. If they go to that trouble they might as well extend the character range to include a variety of fraction sets, native small capitals, foreign language support and more like most other contemporary type families are doing now.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: DaBigE on June 10, 2014, 01:16:22 AM
That Illinois example depicts one of my other pet peeves of the Clearview font. IMO, the capital letter should be taller, or at least as tall as the lowercase letters.  Not maintaining that relationship cheapens the look of the sign...makes it seem sloppy (or artsy depending on the point of view) and less "official".
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on June 10, 2014, 01:57:21 AM
That Illinois example depicts one of my other pet peeves of the Clearview font. IMO, the capital letter should be taller, or at least as tall as the lowercase letters.  Not maintaining that relationship cheapens the look of the sign...makes it seem sloppy (or artsy depending on the point of view) and less "official".

To me, the word shape that the FHWA alphabets form are less friendly than the circle that Clearview forms:

(http://i.imgur.com/0BOv07u.png)

From a technical standpoint, the above probably doesn't play much of a role. But in regards to friendliness and aesthetics, circular shapes tend to be better
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 10, 2014, 02:45:48 AM
I think the perceived "friendliness" of the Clearview fonts has to do with the larger counter spaces. You can still see it in all-caps signage, where Clearview forms a more rectangular outline.

Which is kind of a problem; a sign reading "DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION" looks more like it means it in FHWA series than it does in Clearview. (The pre-1948 block fonts look even sterner.)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PHLBOS on June 10, 2014, 09:29:58 AM
I don't know about anyone else but the below example along the PA Turnpike makes the case (IMHO) where application of Clearview font actually makes a sign's message harder to read (forget the fact that the examples only involve numerals, caps, negative contrast & Series D (for the FHWA example)):

EMERGENCY STOPPING 1500 FT. in Clearview (http://goo.gl/maps/Zdrns)

EMERGENCY STOPPING 1500 FT. in Series D (http://goo.gl/maps/Xu3iW)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on June 10, 2014, 10:19:10 AM
Add to that the fact the lowercase letters fall just short of that 3/4 cap letter height requirement.
I believe the MUTCD specifies ¾ lowercase loop height. The loop letters (a, c, e, etc.) are 0.75× cap height, and the other lowercase letters (e.g. x) are 0.73× cap height. (See page 9-5 of Standard Alphabets (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/SHSm/Alphabets.pdf).)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: MikeTheActuary on June 10, 2014, 02:01:13 PM
When griping about fonts, remember that it could always be worse.

(http://www.n1en.org/Lists/Photos/cs-warning.gif)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on June 10, 2014, 02:28:11 PM
Add to that the fact the lowercase letters fall just short of that 3/4 cap letter height requirement.
I believe the MUTCD specifies ¾ lowercase loop height. The loop letters (a, c, e, etc.) are 0.75× cap height, and the other lowercase letters (e.g. x) are 0.73× cap height. (See page 9-5 of Standard Alphabets (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/SHSm/Alphabets.pdf).)

I've been assuming that was a mistake by whoever wrote that.  it has always been said that the "lowercase loop height" is ¾ of the capital letter height, and I always took that to mean the same thing as x-height; the lowercase loops naturally extend slightly above that ¾ line the same way they naturally extend slightly below the baseline, and the same way round uppercase letters extend above the caps height line and below the baseline.  If indeed it has really always meant that the measure from the baseline to the absolute top of lowercase loops, slightly above the x-height line, is defined to be ¾ of the capital letter height, then that's a really awkward specification.  That would be like specifying the width of a speed limit sign as the measure from the outer physical edge on the left to the outer edge of the inset border on the right.  Sure, one can work from such a specification, but why would anyone specify it that way?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 11, 2014, 03:27:07 PM
Quote from: Scott5114
Which glyphs, in particular, do you feel "need to be fixed"? I have heard from several people that the FHWA fonts are "clunky" or "outdated/less modern" or "ugly", but I've never really heard specifics as to why they feel that way. I will agree that on most series, the lowercase "w" is ghastly, but that's the only character in particular I have noticed as being particularly ugly. It should be noted that while the uppercase characters were designed back in the 1940s, for all series other than E(M), the lower-case letters were designed much more recently (I want to say 2000 or so). I understand that "modern" fonts usually incorporate variance in stroke width as Clearview does, but I would guess that a consistent stroke width is more legible.

Glyphs I don't like in FHWA Series Gothic.

In the uppercase range I think the "G" is downright terrible. It stinks in the Series E weight and it only gets worse as the weights get more narrow. The "O" is funky looking. Honestly, the uppercase "S" the only curved letter in FHWA Series Gothic that looks the slightest bit attractive at all. Normally a typeface should retain some harmony in its angled A, K, M, N, V, W, X, Y and Z characters. FHWA Series Gothic has none of this harmony. And in the area where it's most expected, between the V and W characters, the angles have no resemblance to each other. The "v" and "w" relationship is better in the lowercase range, but too many of the lowercase letters have all sorts of clunky, crooked looking issues. Overall, it's just a butt-ugly looking typeface. Familiarity and nostalgia are the only factors helping it.

Some people here like to take pot shots at Font Bureau's Interstate type family, but all of its curved letters are way better drawn than those in FHWA Series Gothic. The V & W relationship still kind of stinks. But even Interstate's numerals look better. Unfortunately Interstate is not a workable substitute for FHWA Series Gothic. It's not so much to do with the typeface having improper spacing as much as it does with it lacking all the appropriate widths from very condensed to semi-extended. 

In terms of aesthetics, Clearview Highway easily has FHWA Series Gothic beat hands down in terms of glyph harmony. While there is a lot of nostalgia reserved for the 1950's era typeface, technically and artistically it is inferior to Clearview.

The numerals are the only thing going for FHWA Series Gothic. And even there, not all the numerals are all that great. The "2" is pretty weird on that curve down towards the flat terminal on the bottom. The "6" is pretty odd looking at any weight. The "8" is out of balance with its squished top oval and the round bottom oval.

This is some very good information, and useful. Thank you. I can definitely see a lot of the things you mention with some experimentation in Inkscape. It would be trivial to ensure the X/Y pair match (just lop off the bottom half of an X and add a stem for a new Y, which doesn't look too out-of-place). FHWA "K" is downright quirky; I've never seen a K that looks like that any other typeface. I can recognize the issue with the "8", but I haven't really found a resolution to it that doesn't look more out of balance.

However, some of these criticisms would apply to other popular typefaces, including Helvetica, which has different angles for V and W (Futura has similar angles between the two characters). I cannot resolve the incongruity here without the result looking like something like the Arial "W", which I think everyone can agree is a monstrous construction that should be burned at the stake. In both Helvetica and Futura, the curves of "G" mimic those in "O", which applies to FHWA Series as well. Since you criticized both "G" and "O", it's reasonable to believe that your dislike of "O" is linked to your dislike of G, but it is an example of glyph harmony.

I agree that the official FHWA lowercase glyphs leave something to be desired. However, there are alternate glyphs which are out there somewhere, which have surfaced in places like Iowa, that are much nicer looking, although I have yet to analyze them as you have the official glyphs.

Quote
However, if the powers that be want FHWA Series Gothic to truly perform at Clearview levels they will need to completely redraw that type family and deliver new "cuts" of it. The current cuts kind of suck. And they're missing a lot of features. Add to that the fact the lowercase letters fall just short of that 3/4 cap letter height requirement. If they want the lowercase letters to be something like 7/8 the cap letter height like Clearview they'll really have to redraw the whole thing. If they go to that trouble they might as well extend the character range to include a variety of fraction sets, native small capitals, foreign language support and more like most other contemporary type families are doing now.

As mentioned before, though, FHWA cannot do many of these things because they do not create a software implementation of the fonts. They merely offer the characters in PDF form and spacing tables, and it's up to professional type foundries to create a TTF/OTF file from this specification. Fractions are implemented by specifying the height of each element and arranging them manually (something which is apparently done automatically by GuidSIGN/SignCAD). There would likely be some backlash if FHWA developed true foreign language support—Greek, Cyrillic, and Arabic characters would be right out, since there's little conceivable use for them in the US, and it would be an easy political talking point to say "FHWA is spending your tax dollars on fonts for foreign countries". They could offer diacritics, however, fairly easily; all it would require is drawing the diacritic marks themselves, leaving them to be combined by the type foundries, and could be justified as being useful in Spanish- and French-derived place names. I agree, however, that a small-caps set for at least E(M) is something that would improve the font, and could be done by FHWA.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 11, 2014, 03:33:44 PM
Also, I think FHWA Series probably has a leg up on the weird typeface (called Transact) used to print slot machine tickets...
(http://i.imgur.com/khV4fVO.png)

The thermal printing process cleans it up a bit; the raw TTF letterforms are much uglier.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on June 11, 2014, 06:29:32 PM
Also, I think FHWA Series probably has a leg up on the weird typeface (called Transact) used to print slot machine tickets...
(http://i.imgur.com/khV4fVO.png)

The thermal printing process cleans it up a bit; the raw TTF letterforms are much uglier.

That actually looks like a horizontally stretched Series B.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on June 11, 2014, 07:16:47 PM
That actually looks like a horizontally stretched Series B.

to add to that: it looks like the stretched font on the large text can be seen in unstretched form on the line that says ZERO DOLLAR AND ELEVEN CENTS.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on June 11, 2014, 07:21:34 PM
This is some very good information, and useful. Thank you. I can definitely see a lot of the things you mention with some experimentation in Inkscape. It would be trivial to ensure the X/Y pair match (just lop off the bottom half of an X and add a stem for a new Y, which doesn't look too out-of-place).

this is actually the case with BPR 1926 (the old block font).

Quote
FHWA "K" is downright quirky; I've never seen a K that looks like that any other typeface.

see again: BPR 1926, and some of the actual implementations.  I think 1948 is identical to one of the more popular 1926 variants.  I will have to check.

Quote
However, some of these criticisms would apply to other popular typefaces, including Helvetica,

and here's where I lose you.  am I the only one that finds Helvetica to be positively garish?  never mind the tiny-to-moderate differences between Helvetica and Arial and the other ones in that family - I even think Clearview looks a lot better than Helvetica.

Quote
As mentioned before, though, FHWA cannot do many of these things because they do not create a software implementation of the fonts. They merely offer the characters in PDF form and spacing tables, and it's up to professional type foundries to create a TTF/OTF file from this specification.

I have seen lengths-and-radii specifications of all the uppercase series (A-F), and the lowercase EM.  so there is definitely would be a canonical implementation - if it weren't for the fact that the lengths and radii are occasionally overspecified and contradictory.  the only glyphs I've ever constructed from these definitions are Series A uppercase and numbers: I had a hell of a time with "8" and used the drawing to resolve the issues to a best approximation.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 11, 2014, 09:31:18 PM
This is some very good information, and useful. Thank you. I can definitely see a lot of the things you mention with some experimentation in Inkscape. It would be trivial to ensure the X/Y pair match (just lop off the bottom half of an X and add a stem for a new Y, which doesn't look too out-of-place).

this is actually the case with BPR 1926 (the old block font).

Quote
FHWA "K" is downright quirky; I've never seen a K that looks like that any other typeface.

see again: BPR 1926, and some of the actual implementations.  I think 1948 is identical to one of the more popular 1926 variants.  I will have to check.

good point-a lot of the FHWA Series fonts' quirks probably trace from the BPR fonts.

Quote
and here's where I lose you.  am I the only one that finds Helvetica to be positively garish?  never mind the tiny-to-moderate differences between Helvetica and Arial and the other ones in that family - I even think Clearview looks a lot better than Helvetica.

it is far from my favorite; mostly the comparison arises to use Helvetica as a generally recognized cromulent typeface. Helvetica is useful as a boring default when you want to display text with no extra connotations from the font.

Quote
Quote
As mentioned before, though, FHWA cannot do many of these things because they do not create a software implementation of the fonts. They merely offer the characters in PDF form and spacing tables, and it's up to professional type foundries to create a TTF/OTF file from this specification.

I have seen lengths-and-radii specifications of all the uppercase series (A-F), and the lowercase EM.  so there is definitely would be a canonical implementation - if it weren't for the fact that the lengths and radii are occasionally overspecified and contradictory.  the only glyphs I've ever constructed from these definitions are Series A uppercase and numbers: I had a hell of a time with "8" and used the drawing to resolve the issues to a best approximation.
These days the specs are just vector objects in a PDF.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on June 11, 2014, 10:43:16 PM
These days the specs are just vector objects in a PDF.

Actually, the specs are text objects with an embedded font — the Saa version, I think — in a PDF.  I don't think they intended for vector data to be directly extractable from the PDF, as helpful as that may be.  The intended purpose of those pages is probably to be printed and used in a low-tech fashion by the few people who need official font specs and haven't embraced the digital age.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 12, 2014, 03:16:32 PM
It's easy for any agency to go way overboard on mandating specifications for elements in a design or even a typeface. It's also easy for people who aren't actually doing the design work to request things that don't add up mathematically.

If the FHWA was to mandate some specifics for a new type familiy for road signs they should mostly stick to the basics, such as ratio of lowercase characters in proportion to the uppercase characters, approximate stroke thickness (this varies in most typefaces) and not too much else.

Quote from: agentsteel53
am I the only one that finds Helvetica to be positively garish?  never mind the tiny-to-moderate differences between Helvetica and Arial and the other ones in that family - I even think Clearview looks a lot better than Helvetica.

A lot of it is a matter of taste -and also which version of Helvetica is being used. The original 1950's version has some odd features. The "Neue" version, created in the 1980's, cleaned up a lot of things and added a bunch of new weights. The latest "Pro" version of Helvetica Neue added some OpenType features and some new compressed weights.

Helvetica can be a hazard to deal with in sign work. The different versions may all look the same, but they do have substantial differences. That can be a nightmare if you're having to replace trim-capped acrylic faces on a channel letter sign. If you don't use the exact same font file your finished sign parts won't fit the existing sign. There's not only varied versions of Helvetica. Clones like Swiss 721 and Nimbus Sans have subtle differences. These days too many people love squeezing and stretching fonts out of their original proportions. In the end it really helps to have the original art files used to make the sign in the first place.

Helvetica is a clean, neutral (if not plain looking) typeface. It looks a lot better than Arial simply because it is a lot more consistent looking than Arial. The problem with Arial is Monotype just couldn't figure out what Arial needed to be visually. They tried to fit all the metrics of Helvetica and mimic a little of its style. But then they tried copying visual cues from Akzidenz Grotesk and Univers. In the end Arial would up being a hodge-podge of ugly crap.

Not everyone likes Clearview, but at least Clearview has a specific visual style -unlike Arial.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on June 12, 2014, 03:28:00 PM
Quote
good point-a lot of the FHWA Series fonts' quirks probably trace from the BPR fonts.

correct.  I know for a fact that they intended to preserve the spacing exactly between the block and round variants of the various widths.  in some cases this didn't quite happen (series B "S" takes up just a bit more space in round than block, for example) but for the most part it is true.

Quote
Helvetica is useful as a boring default when you want to display text with no extra connotations from the font.

that's actually what Highway Gothic represents to me.  a simple, basic font, with none of the connotations of "we are a high-faluting design firm, and/or a subway agency that thinks FHWA 1948 is too boring".

Quote
These days the specs are just vector objects in a PDF.
are these vector objects plus the spacings sufficient to describe a font file?  I feel like they are.  thus, it's just a matter of a script to do the translation from one vector description language (PDF + spacings) to another (TTF/OTF).  no need for a "professional type foundry"; just someone with coding ability and a day or two of time. 
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on June 12, 2014, 03:29:22 PM
These days too many people love squeezing and stretching fonts out of their original proportions.

*shudder*

(http://shields.aaroads.com/img/OK/OK19792442i1.jpg)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PHLBOS on June 12, 2014, 03:49:28 PM
These days too many people love squeezing and stretching fonts out of their original proportions.

*shudder*

(http://shields.aaroads.com/img/OK/OK19792442i1.jpg)
Man, that's even worse than some of the elongated Series D numerals on some 3dI-shields in PA I've seen.

Exhibit A (http://goo.gl/maps/RW2hx)

While not terrible, but with it've killed PennDOT to just simply use Series C font for these shields?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: JoePCool14 on June 12, 2014, 07:20:42 PM
ISTHA and IDOT also do that for BGS signs with 3DI's.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 12, 2014, 07:35:53 PM
Quote
These days the specs are just vector objects in a PDF.
are these vector objects plus the spacings sufficient to describe a font file?  I feel like they are.  thus, it's just a matter of a script to do the translation from one vector description language (PDF + spacings) to another (TTF/OTF).  no need for a "professional type foundry"; just someone with coding ability and a day or two of time. 

Yes, this is exactly what Sammi did. (See the "Roadgeek 2014 fonts" thread). All she had to do was copy the characters out of the PDF and into a font editor and apply the spacing. The result is a mostly-usable font file; some adjustments to the official spacing specs to make it nicer-looking could be done, but her current release is basically the same as the Roadgeek 2005 fonts that we all have installed on our systems.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 13, 2014, 05:46:16 PM
Quote from: agentsteel53
(http://shields.aaroads.com/img/OK/OK19792442i1.jpg)

Oh yeah, that one is a classic. I've seen that one in person. Tulsa had a few more of those horrible things spread around town, even on overhead signs along I-44. I know a couple of the overhead signs were replaced last year with new sign panels bearing correct Interstate shields and Clearview legends. Still, some of those shield disasters may still be lingering around the Tulsa landscape. There's some other odd-ball I-35 Interstate shields on overhead signs just a couple or so miles before the Turner Turnpike runs into I-35. At least the lettering and numerals are correct; the shield shape is the only thing screwed up.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: hbelkins on June 14, 2014, 10:03:55 PM
I actually like those Oklahoma route markers pictured above precisely because they're different.

And the odd-shaped interstate route markers on the overheads are what you get when you take the standard three-digit wide shield and compress it into a two-digit shield. Conversely, when you take a standard two-digit shield and stretch it to three-digit width, you get the bubble shield. Which is why I like the bubble shield, because I think it's foolish to have two different shield shapes for the same type of route. The bubble shield is the logical extension (pun intended) of the standard two-digit interstate route marker.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vtk on June 15, 2014, 02:27:48 AM
because I think it's foolish to have two different shield shapes for the same type of route.

Stretching makes it a different shape.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 16, 2014, 01:56:39 PM
Yes. The reason why the shields are different is because the Interstate shield is composed of circular arcs:
(http://i.imgur.com/QqtluCF.png)
(the circles don't match up exactly because I was eyeballing it, but you get the idea)

When you create a bubble shield, those circles are stretched out to ovals. The proper 3di shield is a wider shield that is still composed of circular arcs.

Why is it so important that the arcs be circular? Because, in general, humans perceive circles to be more aesthetically pleasing than ovals. I found this out myself when I was doing a series of playing card images for my company—the arcs were even less noticeable than they were in the Interstate shield, but when I stretched things out into ovals, they looked cheap and 'wrong'. Keep stuff circular, and it looks fine.

There's also the fact that in 1956 when the Interstate shield was designed, there was no stretching of anything. There was no CAD that allowed you to squish everything. Instead, you had the high-tech tools of a compass and straightedge. And a circle is a lot easier to make with a compass than an oval.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: mrsman on June 16, 2014, 07:55:22 PM
Yes. The reason why the shields are different is because the Interstate shield is composed of circular arcs:
(http://i.imgur.com/QqtluCF.png)
(the circles don't match up exactly because I was eyeballing it, but you get the idea)

When you create a bubble shield, those circles are stretched out to ovals. The proper 3di shield is a wider shield that is still composed of circular arcs.

Why is it so important that the arcs be circular? Because, in general, humans perceive circles to be more aesthetically pleasing than ovals. I found this out myself when I was doing a series of playing card images for my company—the arcs were even less noticeable than they were in the Interstate shield, but when I stretched things out into ovals, they looked cheap and 'wrong'. Keep stuff circular, and it looks fine.

There's also the fact that in 1956 when the Interstate shield was designed, there was no stretching of anything. There was no CAD that allowed you to squish everything. Instead, you had the high-tech tools of a compass and straightedge. And a circle is a lot easier to make with a compass than an oval.

I wonder if you came across a similar diagram (intersecting circles) for the US highway cutout sign (like in California).  There are enough curved edges that I imagine the sign is also the conjunction of several intersecting circles.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on June 16, 2014, 08:41:29 PM
I wonder if you came across a similar diagram (intersecting circles) for the US highway cutout sign (like in California).  There are enough curved edges that I imagine the sign is also the conjunction of several intersecting circles.

There are actually multiple designs of the US route shield and I am not aware of any that are officially approved and use non-circular arcs; the arcs I have seen are all circular.  California used to have a particularly interesting guide-sign design where the sides were designed to be slid out as needed to accommodate different numbers of digits.  If memory serves, there were four separate widths available.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on June 19, 2014, 04:34:47 PM
Breaking news:  We have a first defection from Clearview.  Iowa DOT, which has been using Clearview for several years, just advertised a signing contract (Call 351 in the letting of July 15, 2014) that uses the FHWA series instead.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on June 25, 2014, 04:25:31 PM
Breaking news:  We have a first defection from Clearview.  Iowa DOT, which has been using Clearview for several years, just advertised a signing contract (Call 351 in the letting of July 15, 2014) that uses the FHWA series instead.

Could you provide a link? I'm wanting to read the contract but can't find it.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on June 25, 2014, 07:49:53 PM
Direct link:

http://www.iowadot.gov/contracts/biddocuments/july_2014_letting/15JUL351.zip

It is accessible from this page (may have to click "All" in the dropdown box to expose the full listing):

http://www.iowadot.gov/contracts/biddocuments/july2014.html

And, actually, I discovered an even earlier contract using Series E Modified after I made my last post.  It was Call 353 in the June letting.

http://www.iowadot.gov/contracts/biddocuments/june_2014_letting/17JUN353.zip

http://www.iowadot.gov/contracts/biddocuments/june2014.html
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on June 25, 2014, 08:33:58 PM
Thanks! I thought those ZIPs were the contracts but I got lost really fast.

On a side note, I'm wondering what made the Iowa DOT switch back to FHWA Series? I am aware of the FHWA's notice to Grays Harbor WA about an end to interim approval, but Iowa ending their usage of Clearview seems to imply that either A) interim approval has ended and thus the approvals are no longer approved (!) or B) Iowa DOT decided they didn't like Clearview anymore? I must have missed something in the last few pages.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on June 25, 2014, 10:33:09 PM
My suspicion (and it is only that--I haven't actually tried to contact anyone there to obtain the inside line) is that they are just going ahead and going back to Series E Modified without waiting for FHWA to revoke the Clearview interim approval, since the handwriting is already on the wall for Clearview.

I think that when FHWA does actually revoke the Clearview IA, it will be a big enough deal that a notice will be posted on the top page of the MUTCD subsite (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov), which I am sure many members of both the professional and enthusiast communities monitor using Watchthatpage.com.  There will very likely be a race to start the first thread about it on this forum.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on June 25, 2014, 10:40:45 PM
Unrelated to everything you've said thus far, J N Winkler, what would you think if the FHWA granted interim approval of the Transport typeface? I see you've spent time in England.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 25, 2014, 11:48:04 PM
Can't speak for J.N. Winkler, but I think that it would come as a major shock...there has been little study comparing the two typefaces, and I would expect that after the Clearview experience, FHWA would want to see such studies before approving another interim approval.

Personally, I wouldn't mind it if they did investigate its use in the US. Transport is a perfectly fine typeface and has proven itself at least as capable as FHWA Series throughout the world.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: on_wisconsin on June 26, 2014, 12:06:08 AM
Speaking of Transport, does anyone know if there is a way to get an official version of that typeface, for free.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on June 26, 2014, 12:12:30 AM
Speaking of Transport, does anyone know if there is a way to get an official version of that typeface, for free.

Did http://www.roadsuk.com go down? I remember getting "Transport Medium" and "Transport Heavy" typefaces from there for free. If someone wants to tell me if they are actually the real deal (I believe they are), then I'll re-up them.

Can't speak for J.N. Winkler, but I think that it would come as a major shock...there has been little study comparing the two typefaces, and I would expect that after the Clearview experience, FHWA would want to see such studies before approving another interim approval.

Personally, I wouldn't mind it if they did investigate its use in the US. Transport is a perfectly fine typeface and has proven itself at least as capable as FHWA Series throughout the world.

I am also supportive of testing Transport for US based road signs. I would suggest DIN 1451, but there needs to be thicker weights I think.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: sammi on June 26, 2014, 12:15:13 AM
Speaking of Transport, does anyone know if there is a way to get an official version of that typeface, for free.

The only 'official' version :) is in the form of drawings on the government website (https://www.gov.uk/working-drawings-for-traffic-signs#alphabet-drawings) (which by the way uses a web version of Transport; it looks nice on web pages). If you want a pre-made version, the best quality is by URW (http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/urw/transport/) for $35. The best free ones are from CBRD (http://cbrd.co.uk/fonts/).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: on_wisconsin on June 26, 2014, 02:00:54 AM
Quick & dirty Transport mock up:
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v704/packerfan386/dd05fafc-d818-4a9b-bf47-b97125f426f7_zps47a7791b.png~original)
(The control city legend size turned out a little too big.)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: DaBigE on June 26, 2014, 09:43:27 AM
Quick & dirty Transport mock up:
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v704/packerfan386/dd05fafc-d818-4a9b-bf47-b97125f426f7_zps47a7791b.png~original)
(The control city legend size turned out a little too big.)

I'm not a huge fan of the Transport '2', but other than that, I like it.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on June 26, 2014, 10:36:56 AM
Quick & dirty Transport mock up:
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v704/packerfan386/dd05fafc-d818-4a9b-bf47-b97125f426f7_zps47a7791b.png~original)
(The control city legend size turned out a little too big.)

Looks alright--except for the shield numerals. Unfortunately, and no slant intended against your effort, but I doubt this mock-up would convince anyone at FHWA to consider Transport. On the other hand, replace the shield numerals with Highway Gothic and I think we have a winner.

I wonder how Transport compares to Clearview on legibility. I personally don't understand why the font difference is such a big deal for exit tabs, cardinal directions and the mileage; do you really need to read the word "EXIT" or "MILE(S)" on every single sign?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on June 26, 2014, 11:29:09 AM
Unrelated to everything you've said thus far, J N Winkler, what would you think if the FHWA granted interim approval of the Transport typeface? I see you've spent time in England.

I wouldn't expect FHWA to approve the Transport typefaces for use on US traffic signs.  TTI did a comparison of Transport, Series D, and an early version of Clearview about 15 years ago (the study was done long enough ago that only the abstract, not the full report, is available from the usual online free sources).  Transport was found, by a small margin, to have the worst legibility performance of the three.  Even if we took this result as a "floor" for the performance of Transport and found there were situations where it could outperform the FHWA series, I still don't see FHWA issuing an interim approval for it because it essentially offers "equivalent performance" to something that is already approved rather than being clearly better.  This is the hurdle that Clearview failed to cross to progress from interim approval to inclusion in the MUTCD.

Transport works well in its native (British) context largely due to ways in which British signs differ from the MUTCD as implemented in most US states.  It is not available in multiple levels of condensation and in most situations it is used in sentence case rather than all-uppercase, so in urban settings British drivers tend to be better served by signs in Transport than American drivers are served by signs which use FHWA Series B, C, or even D.  On motorways and other high-speed roads, design of direction signs assumes that drivers should be able to pick out the specific destination they need quickly, rather than (as in the US) that they should be able to read the entirety of the sign at least twice in the time that it is visible.  Transport thus only has to be able to support visual search of placenames, rather than double-reading of every legend element in full, so some deficit of performance compared to the less-condensed FHWA series (D, E, and E Modified) is tolerable.  In situations where legibility performance is especially important, British standards allow Transport to be deployed at x-heights of up to 400 mm (15.75 inches), which is slightly bigger than the 20" UC/15" LC Series E Modified we use in similar cases.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on June 26, 2014, 12:01:23 PM
Joining in on the Transport mockup train...

(http://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag88/Zeffyboy/Signs/TransportMockup-1_zpsdb79b549.png)
(http://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag88/Zeffyboy/Signs/TransportMockup-2_zps2e0d47eb.png)

Here's what I would propose for Transport, that I think would work well with the MUTCD:


* Added after I saw how unattractive the "heavy" variant of Transport is on the second mockup. E/EM would look way better here.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 26, 2014, 04:09:54 PM
^ How is any of that different than the Clearview circular FHWA posted detailing where you can and cannot use Clearview, though? If you have to have a circular saying "you have to use the old font in these places" you may as well stick with the old font, because state DOTs will not follow the circular.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on June 26, 2014, 08:36:33 PM
^ How is any of that different than the Clearview circular FHWA posted detailing where you can and cannot use Clearview, though? If you have to have a circular saying "you have to use the old font in these places" you may as well stick with the old font, because state DOTs will not follow the circular.

Agreed. Multiple fonts on one sign is messy. We need to find a font that can work everywhere. Zeffy, there's no evidence that Transport is less legible in comparison to FHWA in those cases.

In fact, I love Clearview, but only if it's used everywhere. I'm find with sacking Clearview unless we use it everywhere.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on June 27, 2014, 11:59:02 AM
Agreed. Multiple fonts on one sign is messy. We need to find a font that can work everywhere. Zeffy, there's no evidence that Transport is less legible in comparison to FHWA in those cases.
Ditto. With today's large character sets, it should be fairly simple to have multiple glyph sets within the same font, each set for a particular context (legend, positive contrast, small caps, etc.) Then sign design software could easily use the correct set based on context. And such a font would surely be an aesthetic improvement over FHWA.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Billy F 1988 on June 27, 2014, 01:13:14 PM
To me, I wouldn't mind using Clearview for news print or Internet graphics, but if you're applying Clearview for roadway signage, the FHWA needs to be more clearer on what's accepted and what is not. I believe that what they have put in place doesn't really answer a lot of questions. It's very confusing as of late. Just saying "You can't use Clearview on negative contrast sign panels" doesn't cut it for me. Even if it is explained in manuals, that still does not answer a lot of questions.

So, seems that we have DOT employees on this forum, what do you believe is acceptable usage of Clearview and is it more effective or is it a costly expense?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 27, 2014, 01:52:20 PM
To me, I wouldn't mind using Clearview for news print or Internet graphics, but if you're applying Clearview for roadway signage, the FHWA needs to be more clearer on what's accepted and what is not. I believe that what they have put in place doesn't really answer a lot of questions. It's very confusing as of late. Just saying "You can't use Clearview on negative contrast sign panels" doesn't cut it for me. Even if it is explained in manuals, that still does not answer a lot of questions.

I don't really know what's confusing about that. Clearview is shown to be less effective in negative-contrast applications, so you can't use it there.

Of course, pretty soon there will be no confusion at all, since the rule will be "You can't use Clearview anywhere..."
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Billy F 1988 on June 27, 2014, 01:54:53 PM
Why some states decided to use it is beyond me.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on June 27, 2014, 03:14:42 PM
Why some states decided to use it is beyond me.

Don't forget that older studies suggested that Clearview was more legible in all cases. Slowly, that proved to be questionable, however, you can't blame states back in 2004-2008 or whatever for choosing Clearview. They were simply doing what they thought was a good deed.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on June 27, 2014, 04:11:27 PM
It also took a while for the problems with using Clearview in a production environment to surface.  These include:

*  Clearview not rendering correctly in CAD

*  Clearview used in route shields

*  Uppercase/lowercase size mismatches

*  Clearview used in negative contrast, notwithstanding lack of approval for this use, and the research finding that legibility was inferior

It has been argued upthread that these problems were really a result of unqualified technicians designing and fabricating signs, and that they could have been prevented through some appropriate combination of training, quality assurance, and quality control.  I don't disagree with this position, but it takes time and money to put these things in place, and to the extent that these quality problems coincided with Clearview rollout in certain states, jettisoning Clearview is often the cheaper solution for those states.

And, as Scott points out, when you are dealing with people who are (or seem to be) as dumb as a box of hammers, "Don't use Clearview at all" is a hell of a lot simpler than a pile of guidelines each representing some variation of "Don't use Clearview here, or in that way."
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 28, 2014, 02:59:50 AM
Plus, it's questionable whether the Clearview license and the costs of ensuring compatibility, training, QA, etc is worth the money, where the possible improvement is limited to a marginal improvement under some circumstances on one line of a sign message.

If Clearview were a radical improvement over FHWA Series, then it would be worth the growing pains. But it's not, so it probably isn't.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 30, 2014, 02:07:59 AM
Quote from: J N Winkler
It has been argued upthread that these problems were really a result of unqualified technicians designing and fabricating signs, and that they could have been prevented through some appropriate combination of training, quality assurance, and quality control.  I don't disagree with this position, but it takes time and money to put these things in place, and to the extent that these quality problems coincided with Clearview rollout in certain states, jettisoning Clearview is often the cheaper solution for those states.

The Clearview issue is yet another thing revealing many state agencies have unqualified and/or uncaring people designing traffic control signs. If someone can't tell the difference between Clearview and Series Gothic or follow the rules regarding the use of either typeface he shouldn't be designing the signs. It's a pretty basic, rookie level detail that shouldn't be getting messed up the way it has been.

Another thing that drives me nuts is local agencies goofing up street name signs, based on the rules from the latest MUTCD. All caps legends on street name signs are no longer permitted. New signs have to use mixed case legends, using an approved typeface with lowercase letters at least 75% the height of the uppercase letters. Here in Lawton they misunderstood that rule. They thought the lowercase letters had to be reduced to 75% of their normal size. So now we have a bunch of new street name signs in various places around town (set in Series Gothic btw) with normal uppercase letters and tiny lowercase letters. These signs look so stupid. I've seen that rule misinterpreted on signs in other parts of the country. Pennsylvania had a bunch of big green signs featuring that design mishap.

The other thing that amazes me about the Clearview sign goofs: there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of other rules in how traffic signs have to be designed and installed in the field. Many of those rules are harder to catch than the very simple task of choosing the correct typeface for a sign.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on June 30, 2014, 03:19:44 AM
It's entirely possible in some of these cases that division management simply didn't share the Clearview circular with the rank-and-file sign designers, and the designers probably aren't passionate about their jobs that they would be actively looking up new things about it. Or, the other way around—the designer might protest, but be overruled by a dumbass manager that says the higher ups say we're going to use Clearview, so everything has to be Clearview, whatever that thing you found on the Internet says be damned!

It's amazing what can happen when the boss is an idiot.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: hbelkins on June 30, 2014, 11:29:54 AM
Another thing that drives me nuts is local agencies goofing up street name signs, based on the rules from the latest MUTCD. All caps legends on street name signs are no longer permitted. New signs have to use mixed case legends, using an approved typeface with lowercase letters at least 75% the height of the uppercase letters.

The fact that we have the feds dictating font and capitalization rules to local governments on how they sign their streets and roads is what drives me nuts.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: roadfro on July 01, 2014, 03:41:03 AM
^ I'd prefer this type of standard over letting the local governments pick any font and not being able to read the signs. Less ambiguity while driving is a good thing.

I think (but can't say for sure) that this is probably part of the reason why the MUTCD allows city seals/logos on street name signs, so they can customize to an extent yet still have readable signage.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on July 01, 2014, 05:13:47 AM
(http://i61.tinypic.com/112adjt.jpg)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on July 01, 2014, 01:53:18 PM
How about this? You can choose any font but it can't be deemed silly. Ideally, you would send the typeface to some sort of approval center. That way, you could use basically any sans-serif font but it would filter out the silly "I can't tell if it's serif or sans-serif" type of fonts (such as posted above).

The approval center can't be a city council, either. They'll choose comic sans because they thinks it cute or something.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on July 01, 2014, 03:39:23 PM
We have that already. It's called the NCUTCD, and they put out this guide called the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" so you know what meets their approval.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on July 01, 2014, 05:09:12 PM
We have that already. It's called the NCUTCD, and they put out this guide called the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" so you know what meets their approval.

Oh. What a coincidence.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vdeane on July 01, 2014, 10:35:34 PM
Many places have illegible street name signs.  Potsdam, for examples, uses wooden poles stuck in the ground that are almost impossible to see during the day, much less at night. (right on below photo)
(http://www.nysroads.com/images/gallery/NY/us11/100_7185-s.JPG)

Anyways, I found a new FHWA sign on the Thruway.  Not sure if this means they're dumping clearview or not.  It wouldn't be the first time a NYSDOT-spec sign has found itself on the Thruway, but the tab looks more like something NYSTA would do than anything I've seen from NYSDOT.
(http://www.nysroads.com/images/gallery/NY/i87/100_9404-s.JPG)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on July 02, 2014, 12:06:45 AM
(http://www.nysroads.com/images/gallery/NY/i87/100_9404-s.JPG)

From my perspective, the sign corners seem almost completely squared off. I can tell they're rounded (just barely), but remarkably less-so than most BGSs.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PurdueBill on July 02, 2014, 12:15:07 AM
From my perspective, the sign corners seem almost completely squared off. I can tell they're rounded (just barely), but remarkably less-so than most BGSs.

Especially remarkably so for New York, where the BGSs seem to be more rounded than many places.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on July 02, 2014, 12:21:44 AM
From my perspective, the sign corners seem almost completely squared off. I can tell they're rounded (just barely), but remarkably less-so than most BGSs.

Especially remarkably so for New York, where the BGSs seem to be more rounded than many places.

That might be because of NYSDOT's rounded corners (that is, they cut off the extra green bits in the corner like Maryland).
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Bobby5280 on July 02, 2014, 12:54:18 AM
Quote from: hbelkins
The fact that we have the feds dictating font and capitalization rules to local governments on how they sign their streets and roads is what drives me nuts.

I think the federal government was justified in handing down the new requirement for mixed case legends on street name blade signs. Previous all caps designs were often legibly deficient.

Unfortunately, mixed case street name signs require taller sign blanks to accommodate the descenders of the lowercase letters. A 4" legend would need an 8" tall panel if the lettering was going to be vertically centered on the panel. Even with that layout there might not be enough room to add things like white borders.

I actually suspect some cities and towns have deliberately misinterpreted the MUTCD spec, shrinking lowercase letters to 75% of their normal size, just so they can keep using the shorter, cheaper sign panels.

Ultimately, I think cutting costs also has something to do with the misuse and ultimate dismissal of Clearview. There really is no question Clearview, when used properly, is more legible than FHWA Series Gothic. IMHO, these new claims of Clearview having little if any more legibility than Series Gothic stinks of political spin.

The true problem is Clearview requires longer, more expensive sign panels. A 10" tall legend set in Clearview 5W is going to require a significantly longer sign panel than a 10" legend set in Series Gothic E. The lowercase letters in Clearview are nearly 7/8 the height of the uppercase letters. Series Gothic letters are just under 3/4 the cap height.

State agencies are searching for any way to cut costs, including replacing large, aging traffic signs with smaller, cheaper, harder to read panels. There's a bunch of new ones around Lawton that are a joke.

Quote from: jake
How about this? You can choose any font but it can't be deemed silly. Ideally, you would send the typeface to some sort of approval center. That way, you could use basically any sans-serif font but it would filter out the silly "I can't tell if it's serif or sans-serif" type of fonts (such as posted above).

The approval center can't be a city council, either. They'll choose comic sans because they thinks it cute or something.

There's a couple problems with that. The big one is its very difficult or just plain impossible to legislate good taste. I'm an experienced sign designer, but at the same time I'm about as harsh a critic as there is over badly designed signs. I hate it when people distort typefaces out of their normal proportions or do obviously silly things like setting script typefaces in all capitals. The only thing local governments can do is draft sign ordinances that control size, location and certain functional features of signs.

The other problem is typefaces designed for print or electronic display use often don't work well for traffic sign use. Typefaces meant for traffic sign use have little variance in weight, but need a great variety of widths. Some "super font" families come close to satisfying the variety of widths, but usually fall short in the most condensed forms. Letter spacing in traffic sign typefaces has to be more loosely tracked.

There is plenty of room for improvement with Series Gothic (or room for it to be replaced with something better). Unfortunately we're stuck in a chicken vs. egg scenario where both the fonts and traffic sign software are badly outdated in their capabilities. Both need to improve.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PHLBOS on July 02, 2014, 08:07:43 AM
(http://www.nysroads.com/images/gallery/NY/i87/100_9404-s.JPG)
I have to wonder if that particular BGS is an isolated one-off replacement, fabricated by an independent contractor, for a damaged/destroyed BGS.  That could be one reason why it looks somewhat out of spec... particularly w/those squared corners.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Zeffy on July 02, 2014, 11:36:44 AM
Those extremely not-round corner signs remind me of the signs on the lower parts of the Garden State Parkway (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.123483,-74.7743,3a,16.1y,69.77h,86.42t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1snG9e3xPuwOA5GuylGrVX-Q!2e0)...
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Brandon on July 02, 2014, 12:29:15 PM
Those extremely not-round corner signs remind me of the signs on the lower parts of the Garden State Parkway (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.123483,-74.7743,3a,16.1y,69.77h,86.42t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1snG9e3xPuwOA5GuylGrVX-Q!2e0)...

The Ohio Turnpike is chock full of them.  It's the OTC standard.

Example: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=41.322798,-82.61443&spn=0.004593,0.010568&t=h&z=17&layer=c&cbll=41.322798,-82.614295&panoid=Ovma2-ZTVpGiGVeeOa7QcA&cbp=12,98.1,,0,3.38
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: PHLBOS on July 02, 2014, 01:16:58 PM
Those extremely not-round corner signs remind me of the signs on the lower parts of the Garden State Parkway (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.123483,-74.7743,3a,16.1y,69.77h,86.42t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1snG9e3xPuwOA5GuylGrVX-Q!2e0)...
Some of the upper sections of the GSP sport similar-style BGS' (and that ugly-style US shields) as well.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on July 02, 2014, 08:35:27 PM
Ultimately, I think cutting costs also has something to do with the misuse and ultimate dismissal of Clearview. There really is no question Clearview, when used properly, is more legible than FHWA Series Gothic. IMHO, these new claims of Clearview having little if any more legibility than Series Gothic stinks of political spin.

It was hardly political. It was a legitimate study done by a university. Read it yourself:
http://d2dtl5nnlpfr0r.cloudfront.net/tti.tamu.edu/documents/TTI-2014-3.pdf
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vdeane on July 02, 2014, 08:48:55 PM
I have to wonder if that particular BGS is an isolated one-off replacement, fabricated by an independent contractor, for a damaged/destroyed BGS.  That could be one reason why it looks somewhat out of spec... particularly w/those squared corners.
There's another one just like it south of the Yonkers barrier.  Some signs on I-278 (NYCDOT/NYSDOT Region 11) have the same standard:
(http://www.nysroads.com/images/gallery/NY/i278/100_9529-s.JPG)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jbnv on July 07, 2014, 11:35:07 PM
Quote
The fact that we have the feds dictating font and capitalization rules to local governments on how they sign their streets and roads is what drives me nuts.
^ I'd prefer this type of standard over letting the local governments pick any font and not being able to read the signs. Less ambiguity while driving is a good thing.

Do you not have the ability to vote incompetent officials out of your local governments and replace them with more competent people? Let the federal government dictate local signing standards and eventually they'll get the idea that they can dictate other things for you, like what your schools will sell for lunch, what benefits you must offer to your employees, what sort of health insurance you must have...
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: Scott5114 on July 08, 2014, 02:00:33 AM
Quote
The fact that we have the feds dictating font and capitalization rules to local governments on how they sign their streets and roads is what drives me nuts.
^ I'd prefer this type of standard over letting the local governments pick any font and not being able to read the signs. Less ambiguity while driving is a good thing.

Do you not have the ability to vote incompetent officials out of your local governments and replace them with more competent people?

This is often easier said than done in states with strong support for a single party. In Oklahoma, getting rid of an incompetent Republican is practically impossible, because all they have to say is that their opponent supports Obama and their campaign is sunk. Even in more competitive campaigns, competence often takes a back seat to issues like who hates gays more, who is more Christian, or who accidentally offended which interest group.

Not to mention that most state DOTs are composed of civil servants, not elected officials. If someone were to theoretically take issue with the job that H.B. Elkins is doing with KyTC (which I don't know why they would, since he seems to do a fine job, from what I've seen, but for the sake of argument), he could not be voted out of office because he wasn't voted into that job in the first place, but rather by traditional interviewing and hiring like you would see in a private-sector business.

One only has to look through this forum to see the colossal mess that Oklahoma DOT has managed to wreak on its highway system signage, even under the governance of the MUTCD, to see that removing those trivial regulations would probably be disastrous. I wouldn't trust the Oklahoma state government to tie my shoe, much less develop a coherent signage policy on its own.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: hbelkins on July 08, 2014, 11:53:15 AM
I can see it now. Joe Blow, running for mayor of BFE, putting an ad in the local weekly birdcage liner: "Our street signs are horrible. Vote for me and I will replace our road superintendent with someone who will use a nicer font."
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: J N Winkler on July 08, 2014, 02:32:48 PM
On a more serious note:  subsidiarity is a big Tea Party theme, but where road sign typefaces are concerned, it collides with a few realities.

*  Very few municipal traffic engineering departments have the reservoir of skill to evaluate typefaces according to legibility performance.

*  Mild variation of typeface at the state level is something that does have historical precedent in the US (LeHay font in Maine, house typefaces in Michigan, Nevada, and many other states, etc.).  However, this variation generally coincides with a period of time when traffic design offices were more heavily staffed (in part because primary Interstate construction was then in progress) and signing plans were less likely to have errors.  Given the QA/QC problems many state DOTs now have with their signing plans, are they really able to cope with the added burden of font selection?

*  In Canada, which has open typeface selection and where there is a much more recent history of typeface variation between the provinces that is also much more recent than in the US (and indeed is still ongoing in many cases), there has been a pronounced trend of convergence toward the two major typeface families--FHWA Series and Clearview--over the past fifteen years.  BC Font has disappeared, while in Ontario Helvetica is now used only on a minority of signs, most of which are relatively unimportant in traffic function.  This suggests that if free typeface selection were rolled out in the US, there would be little demand among the states for wholesale conversion to a different type family, and most of the changes at the margin would be aesthetic irritations.  If you don't like the fact that BC uses Arial for route marker digits, how would you feel about Clearview route marker digits in the US?
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: jakeroot on July 08, 2014, 04:54:44 PM
BC Font has disappeared

Disappeared from use, but are still quite easy to find in the wild. The best place to find them is old, old guide signs and on many of the cardinal directions below route shields:

Exhibit A (https://www.flickr.com/photos/afiler/3634401948/)
Exhibit B (http://idonotdespair.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/bc-you-have-been-warned.jpg)
Exhibit C (http://goo.gl/DcYJMh)

If you don't like the fact that BC uses Arial for route marker digits, how would you feel about Clearview route marker digits in the US?

BC has started to use Clearview on route shields, but only very rarely.

For me, Helvetica (Arial) = FHWA Series = Clearview  ---  I like them all equally.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: agentsteel53 on July 08, 2014, 05:20:45 PM
*  Mild variation of typeface at the state level is something that does have historical precedent in the US (LeHay font in Maine, house typefaces in Michigan, Nevada, and many other states, etc.).  However, this variation generally coincides with a period of time when traffic design offices were more heavily staffed (in part because primary Interstate construction was then in progress) and signing plans were less likely to have errors. 

actually, the more I find historical documents to peruse, the more I am thinking that typeface variations go back a long, long time before the rise of the interstate system and the (coincidental?) 1945-48 switch from the block to the round series of FHWA standard fonts.

(http://shields.aaroads.com/img/MA/MA19300011i3.jpg)

dig that custom Mass. font - in 1930!  the embossed shields have a squared-off font set.  I'm not sure why - they are definitely not identical to FHWA alphabets, so if they custom-milled the dies (they did, in the prison shops, primarily in Newburyport), they could have chosen any shape.  perhaps they thought block fonts were more legible, but the rounded custom font more easily painted?

it seems to me that the block font was much more prevalent for embossed forms, simply because a lot of places contracted to companies which had standard designs.  note that these standards may not have exactly matched the FHWA proscription - here is S. G. Adams's 1926 route shield offering, complete with semi-rounded letters and a somewhat different shield shape. 

(http://shields.aaroads.com/img/GA/GA19260172i1.jpg)

to add to this - a lot of the hand-painted signs (mainly directional guide signs and others that needed much customization, like the 1930 Mass. example above) had rounded fonts of a custom style, predating and then continuing to postdate the first MUTCD.  here is a Texas photo showing 1935-spec (if not an earlier spec) guide signs:

(http://shields.aaroads.com/img/TX/TX19260621i1.jpg)

interesting that the route shields have block fonts, despite being flat.  I believe they were screen-printed, as opposed to hand-painted.  (the photo appears to be from 1946, at least that's what I believe that Illy trailer plate to be.)

and here is a photo of a 1917 sign, showing essentially similar fonts to the SG Adams embossed example; fitting the pattern of a "Series C or thereabouts" width round font.

(http://shields.aaroads.com/img/NJ/NJ19170301i1.jpg)

(remarkably, the sign is still in service!)
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: hbelkins on August 25, 2015, 06:03:30 PM
Interesting tidbit -- I don't see that Kentucky ever got approval for Clearview on the FHWA page. (http://"http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/interim_approval/ialistreq.htm") There are a number of approvals for Kentucky listed, but Clearview is not one of them. Hmmm.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: SignGeek101 on August 25, 2015, 10:01:22 PM
^ How is any of that different than the Clearview circular FHWA posted detailing where you can and cannot use Clearview, though? If you have to have a circular saying "you have to use the old font in these places" you may as well stick with the old font, because state DOTs will not follow the circular.

Agreed. Multiple fonts on one sign is messy. We need to find a font that can work everywhere. Zeffy, there's no evidence that Transport is less legible in comparison to FHWA in those cases.

In fact, I love Clearview, but only if it's used everywhere. I'm find with sacking Clearview unless we use it everywhere.

I don't know why I did this, but I did a compasion between FHWA (EEM for the control cities), Clearview, and Mittelscrift (a German font). I found the Mittelscrift's text to look close to Clearview, but numerals to look closer to FHWA.

(http://i1291.photobucket.com/albums/b551/slik_sh00ter/Differentiating%20Fonts_zps7icmrvbi.png)


Anyways, I found a new FHWA sign on the Thruway.  Not sure if this means they're dumping clearview or not.  It wouldn't be the first time a NYSDOT-spec sign has found itself on the Thruway, but the tab looks more like something NYSTA would do than anything I've seen from NYSDOT.
(http://www.nysroads.com/images/gallery/NY/i87/100_9404-s.JPG)

I thought I was looking at an Ontario sign for a minute. Then I realized the units are in Miles  :pan:
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: vdeane on August 26, 2015, 06:18:16 PM
Almost all exit tabs in Ontario omit the word "exit" and include the number only.  Those that include the word "exit" predate bilingualism.

One can also tell it's not an Ontario sign because both roads are in the same font size.  In Ontario, one would be normal-sized, and the other as tiny as the "1/2 mile" line.
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: SignGeek101 on August 26, 2015, 11:27:11 PM
Almost all exit tabs in Ontario omit the word "exit" and include the number only.  Those that include the word "exit" predate bilingualism.

One can also tell it's not an Ontario sign because both roads are in the same font size.  In Ontario, one would be normal-sized, and the other as tiny as the "1/2 mile" line.

I know, but at a quick peripheral glance scrolling down the page, it looked Ontario like, since Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America that uses square borders. The other hints you pointed out eliminated that sign being in Ontario quickly. The last hint would be the absence of the period after 'Blvd'.

I did find this though. It's nice to see this one is still around: https://goo.gl/maps/SEF9X
Title: Re: The Clearview Subject
Post by: machias on August 27, 2015, 07:22:24 AM
Almost all exit tabs in Ontario omit the word "exit" and include the number only.  Those that include the word "exit" predate bilingualism.

One can also tell it's not an Ontario sign because both roads are in the same font size.  In Ontario, one would be normal-sized, and the other as tiny as the "1/2 mile" line.

I know, but at a quick peripheral glance scrolling down the page, it looked Ontario like, since Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America that uses square borders. The other hints you pointed out eliminated that sign being in Ontario quickly. The last hint would be the absence of the period after 'Blvd'.

I did find this though. It's nice to see this one is still around: https://goo.gl/maps/SEF9X

The Ohio Turnpike uses square borders as well, plus the NYS Thruway Authority uses square borders from time to time (usually on E-ZPass signs).