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Author Topic: The Clearview Subject  (Read 109822 times)

hbelkins

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #250 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.
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PurdueBill

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #251 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). 



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.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #252 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). 



Canada uses Clearview but has no restrictions on its placement, contrast, etc. The uses above are all acceptable.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #253 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.
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J N Winkler

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #254 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 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, 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.
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jakeroot

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #255 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 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.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 02:31:51 AM by jake »
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #256 on: May 31, 2014, 10:47:29 AM »

Speaking of Clearview's website, I thought these two pictures were...wonderful...


I didn't think that guide signs were mounted on iron gates like these.



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
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #257 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.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #258 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.

Pete from Boston

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #259 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.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 01:39:13 AM by Pete from Boston »
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #260 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.
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seicer

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #261 on: June 02, 2014, 07:19:31 AM »

Where?
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Arkansastravelguy

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #262 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!!!


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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #264 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.
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formulanone

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #265 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.

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #266 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.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #267 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.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #268 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.
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Bobby5280

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #269 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?
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 05:27:21 PM by Bobby5280 »
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Scott5114

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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #270 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.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #271 on: June 04, 2014, 06:28:08 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.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #272 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.
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #273 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!
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Re: The Clearview Subject
« Reply #274 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.
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