TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Tue Aug 11 15:38:21 EDT 2020

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Highway Gothic

Highway Gothic (also known as the FHWA Series fonts or the Standard Alphabets for Highway Signs) is a set of sans-serif typefaces developed by the United States Federal Highway Administration and used for road signage in the United States, Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Australia, Norway, Spain, Venezuela, the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Mongolia and New Zealand. The typefaces were created to maximize legibility at a distance and at high speed. Versions known as Highway Gothic or Interstate, which are for sale to the general public, include punctuation marks based on a rectangular shape. However, on signage the official FHWA Series punctuation is based on a circular shape. The set consists of six fonts: "A" (the narrowest), "B", "C", "D", "E", "E(M)" (a modified version of "E" with wider strokes), and "F" (the widest). The typefaces originally included only uppercase letters, with the exception of "E(M)", which was used on large expressway and freeway guide signs.

The typefaces are officially defined by the FHWA's Standard Alphabets for Traffic-Control Devices, originally published in 1948 (reprinted 1952). Changes to the specifications were published in 1966, 1977, and 2000. The 2000 specifications differ from earlier versions in the shapes of a few letters and in the inclusion of lowercase letters for all alphabet series. FHWA Series A, B, C, D, E, and F were developed by the Public Roads Administration (which later became FHWA) during World War II. Draft versions of these typefaces were used in 1942 for signs on the Pentagon road network. In 1949-1950, as part of a research program into freeway signing carried out by the California Department of Transportation, Series E Modified was developed from Series E by thickening the stroke width to accommodate button reflectors for ground-mounted signs, while a lowercase alphabet was developed to allow mixed-case legend (consisting initially of Series D and lowercase letters) to be used on externally illuminated overhead signs.[2] The lowercase letters, paired with Series E Modified, later became the basis of a national standard for mixed-case legend on freeway guide signs with the 1958 publication of the AASHTO signing and marking manual for Interstate highways. Series "A" has been officially discontinued in the USA, though it continues to be specified for certain signs in New Zealand. In 2004, the FHWA published lowercase letters for all of the typefaces and made changes to the Manual on Uniform Traffic-Control Devices, which allows their use.

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Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html