Why the US has two different highway fonts

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3 महीने पहले

The typefaces on highway signs, deconstructed.

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When you head out on the highway in the United States, you’re probably paying attention to the signs above your car and on the side of the road - the ones that direct you to your destination. If you’re looking for an exit or a rest stop, chances are you’ll see the typeface Highway Gothic. It became the highway standard in the 1950s, born out of an initiative from the California Department of Transportation to develop a clearer and more flexible standard for highway signs.

But for the past decade, a new typeface has been trying to take its place: Clearview. This new typeface boasts wider spaces inside of letters and less chunky letterforms, and tries to solve some of Highway Gothic’s readability issues. Learn more in the video above.

More from typeface designer Tobias Frere-Jones, who designed the typeface Interstate as an homage to Highway Gothic:

More information on how the FHWA decided to grant Clearview an interim approval:

More on research behind Clearview’s legibility:

More on the differences between Highway Gothic and Clearview:

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Alex Cervantes
Alex Cervantes 3 दिन पहले
Never realized they were different till now that it was mentioned.
slawdify 5 दिन पहले
I was doing out-of-town work in Youngstown, Ohio (from the west) and for a while I was confused by a sign for the next major road to "Sharon Pa". Because of the capitalization, I didnt know that Sharon was a town in Pennsylvania, or if there was a town in Ohio called Sharon Pa. The confusion was I think due in part to what seemed to be an inconsistent use of capitalization.
Dustin Dawind
Dustin Dawind 9 दिन पहले
I clicked on this video because I saw the thumbnail and was like oh hey I live right near there.
Emery Brown
Emery Brown 10 दिन पहले
Imagine they had earwig factory or something lol
dblissmn 10 दिन पहले
I find Clearview so much easier to read. I was very glad my state was an early adopter. One thing Vox doesn't mention is the Federal Highway Administration banned Clearview in January 2016, only for Congress to reinstate Clearview two months later. There are a few signs in my state put up during that period that had to go back to Highway Gothic.
Sarah Messbauer
Sarah Messbauer 13 दिन पहले
I see the Hellertown/Bethlehem exit sign, I click.
David 13 दिन पहले
Anyone already understand halation from from shooting film?
Matthew Klinger
Matthew Klinger 14 दिन पहले
Honestly I'm only clicking because i live in the Lehigh valley and saw Bethlehem.
Jamie Jobb
Jamie Jobb 16 दिन पहले
From the screen-capture for this video, it's obvious that these fonts measure exactly one mile apart!
Michael Jerry
Michael Jerry 16 दिन पहले
Contact Maskoffweb, on youtube for bitcoin hacking, mining and invest, they charge my life
Michael Jerry
Michael Jerry 16 दिन पहले
Contact maskoffweb on youtube for bitcoin hacking, mining and invest, they charge my life
Sunshine Monroe
Sunshine Monroe 17 दिन पहले
I have to admit, this is something I have never thought about.
_ HTZ 17 दिन पहले
I still like the old one better
Brick Life
Brick Life 18 दिन पहले
So weird
Ashley N.
Ashley N. 18 दिन पहले
I recognized the Bethlehem/ Hellertown, PA exits on I-78 in the video thumbnail and clicked. I live in the area.
Geek37 19 दिन पहले
This is the most interesting video that Vox has done.
bigthing75 19 दिन पहले
Great, something I never noticed before is going mess with my OCD.
Shannon Fonseka
Shannon Fonseka 20 दिन पहले
This font looks similar to the "Intersate" font
drf81 20 दिन पहले
Three if you count the old font Georgia used to use.
Jamie 21 दिन पहले
Hi this is the kind of niche knowledge that only someone who has done this twice in the last year (me) would have, but it’s illegal to move fruit across most state lines! Especially apples and oranges!!
herrbrahms 21 दिन पहले
Don't fix what isn't broken. Send Clearview packing and welcome the return of Highway Gothic.
Jose G. Castillo
Jose G. Castillo 21 दिन पहले
I just use google maps and wait for it to tell me when to turn IDC if I swerve my car
Lqtor 21 दिन पहले
Why do people even notice these things?
Jen White
Jen White 21 दिन पहले
The thumbnail is a sign from my relatively small part of the world, which is the only reason I clicked on this video lol, interesting info tho
No but hey on you
No but hey on you 22 दिन पहले
How can a font be american?
Candace Myers
Candace Myers 22 दिन पहले
Thanks for featuring the dresser drawer at @0:15. That's in my hometown of High Point, NC. So cool!
Ty Tipton
Ty Tipton 22 दिन पहले
My thought process: “I do not even care why..... 🤔🤔🙄 Ok I’ll bite. Why?”
Sam Weltsch
Sam Weltsch 22 दिन पहले
left font ✅✅
johnny mancebo
johnny mancebo 23 दिन पहले
This was pointless to watch
Anthony Du
Anthony Du 23 दिन पहले
I think the old number “2” in the thumbnail is way more distinguishable than the new one.
Erster 23 दिन पहले
I just watched this whole video and I don't even in the US + I don't even drive a car...
TJ Jones
TJ Jones 23 दिन पहले
i love useless knowledge youtube
Kay Anna
Kay Anna 24 दिन पहले
Wait why was the thumbnail a picture of MY exit in PA lol what are the odds
PrinceRoyceFan667 24 दिन पहले
Finally talking about the real issues.
O Esen
O Esen 24 दिन पहले
okay UX designer here.. it sounds like they didn't end up solving the original problem. or did they by some other type of intervention that was not included in this video?
Mr Vry Dapper Ferret
Mr Vry Dapper Ferret 25 दिन पहले
As someone from Ireland, a country where you can find three different fonts on one sign, this is interesting to me
Nabii 27 दिन पहले
Honestly, I'm just here to put some respect on Eastern Pennsylvania. Those cobblestone bridges are the footpaths of royalty.
CreatureXXII 28 दिन पहले
In British Columbia, Canada we use Clearview font for most of our highway signs. I didn't notice this a first but come to think about it, whenever we visited the United States there was something different about the highway signs. But now we know, and I wonder whether you use Highway Gothic or Clearview in your region?
Gene Kwak
Gene Kwak 28 दिन पहले
The finicky weight paradoxically wish because cactus conceptually scrub abaft a two cicada. alleged, irate furniture
Andra Febrian
Andra Febrian 28 दिन पहले
Indonesia have the exact same problem here.
Yvette G
Yvette G 28 दिन पहले
I can hear my undergrad design professor saying “IT’S TYPEFACE NOT FONT” 😂
Vinni Stamegna
Vinni Stamegna 29 दिन पहले
Reminds me of the SNL Papyrus skit with Ryan Gosling
mattyian1208 महीने पहले
Clearview should become standard in the future
Gavin The Crafter
Gavin The Crafter महीने पहले
Highway Gothic is very American to me. Whenever I see a Clearview sign, I feel like I'm in Europe.
Farhan Ishraq Hassan
Farhan Ishraq Hassan महीने पहले
And in my country we use Arial fsr.
Mikaila Ullal
Mikaila Ullal महीने पहले
love the new jersey signs
Sam W
Sam W महीने पहले
To be honest I’ve never noticed
The Muse Luci
The Muse Luci महीने पहले
is it wrong that I'm like, "oh my god yes, please tell me more" over typography history?
Cqrsten महीने पहले
Nice Bethlehem
Cashtronaut महीने पहले
Highway gothic supremacy
mxfibj fhb
mxfibj fhb महीने पहले
Why did they make it optional they did the same for the metric system and it’s just lead to more confusion
Ted Chaffman
Ted Chaffman महीने पहले
I think typeface psychology has real-world applications, but its practitioners are often so in the weeds that they forget everyday people really can't tell the difference between Clearview and Highway Gothic when rocketing down the highway at 75mph.
安迪 महीने पहले
The wealthy pet basically box because persian commonly separate apropos a necessary yoke. responsible, descriptive hope
Jaune Soleiel
Jaune Soleiel महीने पहले
This has irritated me for years 😂 I love typography and notice the little nuances. Can’t wait to share this with my colleagues!
Thumbnail is my work exit 😅
Sergeant Hartman
Sergeant Hartman महीने पहले
I only watched this video because the two cities in the thumbnail are in my area.
The Oasis
The Oasis महीने पहले
Clearview fans vs. Highway Gothic enjoyers
Khoshekh The Dog
Khoshekh The Dog महीने पहले
You can't unsee these thinks now.
Turkey Bowlwinkle
Turkey Bowlwinkle महीने पहले
When all cars are self-driving (next year?) highway signs will no longer be necessary.
ThatLooksWhiteBut_IsBlackHispanicGuy महीने पहले
1:27 “oh I wonder if we got some new state? Lllinois? Who wouldn’t recognize that?
Marc Colten
Marc Colten महीने पहले
Thank goodness for GPS.
Jovan Jeffs
Jovan Jeffs 2 महीने पहले
I grew up in Arizona, then moved to California and I always felt that the letters on California signs were too thick. Now I realize I grew up reading Clearview lol
Zach Tinawi
Zach Tinawi 2 महीने पहले
Shout out to the person driving around north jersey to get footage
Chris And Emilie
Chris And Emilie 2 महीने पहले
This is great! Now we're analyzing every sign as we pass it on our road trip!
whatscookin 2 महीने पहले
This is what I subbed for. Random questions I didn't even know I wanted answered
Ryan Walker
Ryan Walker 2 महीने पहले
Pov: You're here becuse you had no idea there are two fonts.
Jonathan Wei
Jonathan Wei 2 महीने पहले
So do the Netherlands! We have both, as the country uses Highway Gothic originally and some newer signs now are in Clearview.
Michael Weishaar
Michael Weishaar 2 महीने पहले
The sign in the thumbnail is now falling apart.
Ed R
Ed R 2 महीने पहले
I’m surprised that the US doesn’t use Comic Sans and Wingdings…
danysf 2 महीने पहले
The real question is: Who cares?
Pankaj Mahato
Pankaj Mahato 2 महीने पहले
Finally someone is using Windows Design elements while creating the windows instead of the traffic light design.
Mikel Taylor
Mikel Taylor 2 महीने पहले
Everyone knows they all are just stroking their beards waiting to pick Helvetica.
Context 2 महीने पहले
Ha! They should go with Comic Sans no?
Demondog 2 महीने पहले
Vox: now what’s halation? Bunch of internet weebs: oh I know this one
Mito 2 महीने पहले
Who needs highway signs... just listen to your Siri or Google tells you to turn right ! Right now! into the river!
Jupiter Stars
Jupiter Stars 2 महीने पहले
Nobody: INcds: Did you know the highway signs are written in two different fonts?
Aaron Richardson
Aaron Richardson 2 महीने पहले
I watched because I’m from the thumbnail photo lol
Irish Sports
Irish Sports 2 महीने पहले
Would you rather go on an American road trip or a European one
Irish Sports
Irish Sports 2 महीने पहले
I agree I'm from Ireland so I'm a European they bought can be great craic
Context 2 महीने पहले
Both can be epic!
Alexis Miller
Alexis Miller 2 महीने पहले
What irritates me is that not every state trims the edges off the sign to match the white border line. Florida does, but Georgia and California don't.
Juan Zavala
Juan Zavala 2 महीने पहले
You've officially run out of topics
عبدالله القحطاني
عبدالله القحطاني 2 महीने पहले
In Saudi Arabia we I think we still use Highway Gothic along side Arabic Letraset font.
louie perez
louie perez 2 महीने पहले
Another California Idea building freeways coast to coast after the first one was built in Los Ángeles route 110 L A to Pasadena 1938
Musti A
Musti A 2 महीने पहले
It came from Britain 🇬🇧 so remember that u begs lol
MovieTrailers 2 महीने पहले
Than God for Google Maps. Now we don't have to stare at highway fonts for directions.
PeeGee Thirteen
PeeGee Thirteen 2 महीने पहले
Highway Gothic for me
Víctor Souza
Víctor Souza 2 महीने पहले
First world problems...
Ben YiHan
Ben YiHan 2 महीने पहले
1:03: AAA
Victoria G
Victoria G 2 महीने पहले
this made me think of my graphic design teacher, who loves typography
Kushagra Rana
Kushagra Rana 2 महीने पहले
Vox running out of ideas?
Fernando Romera
Fernando Romera 2 महीने पहले
Very interesting
Ashley 2 महीने पहले
Becky bobbiehj
Becky bobbiehj 2 महीने पहले
The low shrimp problematically deserve because person preferably bleach on a juvenile objective. valuable, organic advice
コーラン 2 महीने पहले
Palestine for us 🇵🇸🇸🇦🇹🇷🇩🇿🇵🇰🇪🇬🇴🇲🇯🇴🇦🇪
Ryan P
Ryan P 2 महीने पहले
Can you guys please do a refresher video on the newest tensions in Isreal and Palestine?
hebneh 2 महीने पहले
When the federal interstate system came into existence in 1956, there was a lot of discussion and study about the standards for directional signs - not just the typeface, but the colors as well. Once the US government starting giving out huge amounts of money to build the national freeway system, all the freeways everywhere had to conform to the national requirements, thus Highway Gothic appeared everywhere.
Maria Chrzanowski
Maria Chrzanowski 2 महीने पहले
The same two fonts exist in Canada too
Liam M
Liam M 2 महीने पहले
There's nothing I like more than a good controversy over fonts
Allan Acosta
Allan Acosta 2 महीने पहले
That flection is so annoying
Jeff E
Jeff E 2 महीने पहले
Never even knew about this or noticed the difference while on the highway. *zzzz*
Mario Fernando Uribe Orozco
Mario Fernando Uribe Orozco 2 महीने पहले
Interesante video, buen trabajo VOX, pones de relieve algo mínimo y cotidiano pero que es de gran relevancia para las personas, nadie se detiene a pensar en las razones para que esto tan mínimo funcione bien y qué y quien esta de tras, una manera de reivindicar el papel que el diseño juega en la vida cotidiana. // Interesting video, good job VOX, you highlight something minimal and everyday but that is of great relevance to people, no one stops to think about the reasons why this so minimal works well and what and who is behind it, a way to highlight the role design plays in everyday life.
PK-JIN 2 महीने पहले
When I moved from NC to VA, one of the first things I noticed was the speed limit signs looked a bit "off." Well this video explains it all. On a side note, I consult with an aircraft manufacturer and we use Highway Gothic for cockpit signage whereas that role is traditionally filled by MS33558, DIN1451 or Futura. I personally find Highway Gothic to be the best.
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