seeing clearly on the road

Every day we are bombarded by advertisements and signage. From billboards to building signage, legibility of typography used in these signs is key to conveying a message. Bad typography can only make your message harder to understand and get through to the intended reader. While driving, have you ever thought about the legibility of road signs? I am sure not much thought is given by many on the legibility of roadsigns, but there are some out there that still found America’s highway signs in need of improvement. That is why a group of designers from Meeker & Associates took the task of making a better road sign.

ClearviewHwy TestingWhy would someone think there was a need for a better sign? Have you ever been driving at night or even during the daytime in an unfamiliar area and almost missed an exit? I sure have, and it is no fun when my wife sitting next to me then yells at me for not paying attention to the road. But with all of the attention getting signage out there these days, a better highway sign can help us navigate unfamiliar roads easier and most importantly… SAFER!

In 2002 Meeker & Associates worked with the State of Pennsylvania Highway Department to test different typography treatments on highway signs and came up with a new font called

Clearview vs. Federal Highway FontClearviewHwy. What was found during the study was that Clearviewhwy was easier to see. At speeds of 45 mph, ClearviewHwy had a legibility improvement of 80 feet versus the standard Highway typography that was in use. That resulted in a 1.2 second longer read time, which makes a big difference to drivers. During night driving, ClearviewHwy has less halation which degrades legibility at night.

Halation example

As a result of the 2002 findings, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 2004 recommended changes to highway sign typography and has now added ClearviewHwy as an accepted font for Highway signs. Today, only a handful of states are implementing ClaerviewHwy, but given the age of driver is getting older thanks to the “Boomers”, ClearviewHwy should be seeing more use as signs become replaced.

To get more information on ClearviewHwy and read about its development in more detail, purchase the font or to view publication articles about ClearviewHwy, please visit the link below. Also remember to drive safely!


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