Friday, October 12, 2007

on the subject of Legibility: Euroface

 Perception of Euroface's characters at different velocity. (image from site quoted bellow)It was with great interest that I came across this site a little while ago.

The faster you go, the sharper this amazing typeface looks:
press release
Brussels, 25 October 1999

In 1994, the members of European Parliament urged the creation of a new comprehensive road typeface system, the development of a ‘general high recognition and perception font’, and recommended adoption of uniform design practices. Now, after five years of extensive research, the European Committee for Uniformity of Type Design and Type Safety completed the research and presented legible-for-all-purposes-suitable-typeface. The typeface, named Euroface, was developed and studied through extensive design exercises, laboratory investigation and road tests. The result is convincing: Euroface is 42% more legible than Helvetica at the speed higher than 80 km/h and at 120 km/h legibility reaches a value of 5 ISRU*. The Committee’s recommendation were accepted and the adoption of the system in the EC countries should be completed by 2005. A Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and Type Safety was published in 1999, thoroughly presenting the projects implication, possibilities and practical applications.

*International Standard Recognition Unit"

Project’s description
(excerpt from The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and Type Safety)

In the early days of traffic control device systems, only broad specifications were enumerated by conventions or government bodies. Local jurisdiction were left to their own devices insofar as basic type design was concerned. With the passage of time and increased sophistication, all systems have become much specific about applications of type in public and many inconsistencies occurred. What is clear at the present time is, that there is the need for uniform design review procedures. To ensure the road safety for the next century, the European Committee for Uniformity of Type Design and Type Safety (ECforTS) organized an international design contest in order to find the-one-and-only-for-all-purposes-suitable-ultimately-legible typeface."

Hmm. That a project like this would be mysteriously shelved seems some how not so odd. The letters from such luminaries in the world of typography as, David Berlow, Dr. RĂ¼diger Metzker, Prof. Dr. Ernst Krefeld Hansen, Gerhard Unger, Gert Dumbar
are most illuminating. (At least 3 of whom are actual people.)

Russell, Tiresias

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