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New American Interstate Typeface

08.13.07   |   Posted in: Art & Design   |   By: A. Salem Jones
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clearview-typeface-01.jpgThere are few things that America has done right when it comes to design at the national level. Don’t get me started on our currency (although the creeping in of pink shows that we are loosening our fiscal collars). So when I heard that the American Interstate type of choice was being changed I got really heated. After giving myself a cooling off period, I can summarize the difference by saying that the non-ascending letters have been scaled taller and larger (by raising the x-height). This could make the differences between letters with ascenders (t,d,f,h,l,b) and those without more difficult to differentiate. To compensate, the ascenders’ height were increased and the base of the “l” was rounded to aid in legibility.

The net result is that while individual letters are undeniably easier to see, a certain elegance and grace has left. It’s kind of like when someone hands you type in 12 point or larger and says they like it that way because it’s easier to read. It is, but it looks a little chunky. I will, as lame as it sounds, always have a soft spot for the classic hatched “l”s. We’re willing to accept the change if they will make the concession to perfectly kern (space) all the letter pairs. You can read more here- Via The New York Times.

3 Responses to “New American Interstate Typeface”

  1. iancu Says:

    Sorry but I disagree. The New type (Clearview, if I understood right) looks a lot better IMO. Especially Clearview CD45 (because of it’s slightly condensed proportions. Also, as you said, the rounded “l”‘s re a lot more visible, the “y” looks better and links better with the rest.

    The old one, while it looks good individually, resembling Interstate (the font), I think was not a good choice, since the signs need a lot of letter spacing, and this font is not good for that since its letters do not link with each other well.

    Too bad Romanian road signs are way in the stone age, it’ll take another 10 years at least till we get to discuss the fonts used :-

  2. Kellis Says:

    Word, The letter spacing by itself is what makes this a winner. If you can fit bigger more tightly spaced letters on a sign, it means you can read it from farther away, which means it’s less likely you will miss your exit.

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