Sunday, October 5

Moncton Street Signs Improved

This news comes a tad late. As you can see in the image, the newer version of the sign (top) is wider and has dropped the bilingual St./Rue that are still on either side of the older versions. This allows for wider tracking*. Even for longer street names like Vaughan Harvey. It's a great improvement in my opinion as the signs appear much easier to read at all distances and at significant speeds (don't ask how I tested that). Also, the font itself -which looks a lot like ClearviewHwy and likely is Clearview- is a bit lighter and has less exaggerated thick/thin transitions creating a better balance between positive and negative space. The street names are set in title case. It is common knowledge that title, sentence and lower case text reads better due to word-shape recognition non-existent in upper case text. See below image.

The higher placement of the new signs makes it easier to view them over traffic and positions them nearer to street lamps for better visibility at night. There are a few other features like a white outline and rounded edges to the sign. As far as I can tell most of the major intersections where street lights with dual braces are present sport the improved signs. It makes sense. A single brace would make it difficult to attach a sign.

My favorite feature of the new font is it's night legibility when refracting light. This is where the design really "shines".

The change is not complete however. Currently, if you drive from northwest Mountain rd. all the way to the downtown end you will see at least 4 different typefaces on street signs set in both upper and title case. I'm guessing that the job is still under way or that the project so far applies only to major streets where driving speeds are significant and legibility is a higher priority. Hence the reason for adopting the Hwy version of the font.

I'd love to see all of Moncton's street signs undergo a typographical makeover. It would go a long way to spruce up the look of the city. Not that I'm complaining about the new signs. Easier to read signs will allow tourists more time decide wether they want to change lanes to turn on Killam or stay in the same lane. Plus it's nice to look at good typography while waiting for the green.

If you'd like to read more about what goes into a project like this, follow this link for an in-depth article**.

*Tracking is the consistent spacing between the letters of a block of text.
**Thanks to my fellow Howies for the help finding the articles.


danjo said...

great blog. i discovered it through your posts at the HOW forum. I'll keep reading. I am always looking for fellow canadian design blogs.

Juggling Jason said...

Thanks Danjo! Stay tuned for a great new article from fellow Howie, Amberlyth!