ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

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peperodriguez2710
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ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door peperodriguez2710 » di 18 apr 2017, 13:30

Hello! At first, sorry for not writing in Dutch, but Spanish is my native tongue and the only word I know in your language is "afrit"... And I don't trust very much in Google Translate :?

Some years ago, the government in Spain decided to stop using Autopista (a modified version of FHWA Series E(M)) in freeway signage (white lettering over blue background) to change into Carretera Convencional, a heavier, modified version of Transport Heavy already used for non-motorway signage. Both typefaces are badly done, and the kerning and spacing between lines is usually terrible in both of them. The thing is even worse with Carretera Convencional, which is the heaviest of them and placed without care results in heavy halation. :facepalm: :wall:

The problem with the decision for me is replacing an already bad typeface with an even worse one, so I'm going to send a complain to the government asking for valid reasons for the change (as I believe it's made to satisfy road building companies, producing with only one typeface is easier than having to switch it between different kind of signs).
What I do believe we should do in Spain is switch to a more legible typeface for motorways, I thought about many options, and among them we find ANWB-Ee and Ee VL series with correct placing (the latter isn't as heavy as the others and could have interesting results). If not possible, I'll ask to at least return to Autopista...

What I want to ask you is: Could you provide me with studies (if known) of sign legibility in the ANWB-Ee and ANWB-Ee VL typefaces (with a link if possible)? I haven't found anything by now about them, and I believe this forum is the best place to ask for them. The more I have, the better so please tell me about any study you know about it.
Thanks in advance!
Laatst gewijzigd door peperodriguez2710 op vr 05 mei 2017, 14:12, 1 keer totaal gewijzigd.

waldo79
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door waldo79 » di 18 apr 2017, 15:40

Very welcome at Wegenforum. Compliments with dropping your question in the correct subforum. It will be no problem to correspond in English.
Personally, I am not familiar with typeface legibility, but I know we have some expertise over here.

Pino
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door Pino » di 18 apr 2017, 15:44

^^ I'm a non-professional too, so chances are that I missed any formal studies. But you are touching on an interesting point, namely the differences between the various fonts in one family - in our case FHWA(E), ANWB/RWS Ee and Autopista, or Transport and Carretera. I tend to look at studies about the 'parent typefaces' (so FHWA studies in the US, Transport studies in Britain etc) as a seal of approval for the modified fonts used in our countries, but your post underlines that variations implemented locally can actually make a big difference.

As a layman, it seems to me that Spain made one crucial mistake when they introduced Carretera Convencional on autovia/autopista signs. That is that they took a font optimized for signage in black letters against a light background and simply inverted it into a white letters against dark background font. They seemed completely oblivious of the halation effect that is the rationale behind the difference between 'positive' and 'negative' fonts. And the results have been predictably bad.

If there is anything to say to Fomento, it should be that they should get this basic point right and that font, spacing and kerning should be reconsidered with blue signs as a starting point - which has to result in letters less heavy than Carretera Convencional. As I said in different threads, they should have picked the British Transport Medium font as their starting point for blue signs, not Transport Heavy. Not sure whether any studies about the Dutch modifications of FHWA(E) could be of any assistance to this end.

The rest, well ... that's politics. I see what you mean when you speak of the bad kerning and spacing on Spanish signs in either font. But raising arguments along those lines means that you'll be telling Fomonto "you've been doing a poor job for decades". That is a type of message likely to result in complete denial and no action whatsoever. I'd focus on the low-hanging fruit that I mentioned above, which would allow you to present your message as "you missed something a few years back and there still is time to fix". Finally, the poor kerning and spacing job seems to have more of an adverse impact on the legibility of Spanish signs than a switch from an FWHA-based font to a Transport-based font. So if I had to raise one secondary argument to the positive-negative story, it would be kerning and spacing. In my opinion, differences between FHWA and Transport are a moot point in the bigger scheme of Spanish signposting things.
Laatst gewijzigd door Pino op di 18 apr 2017, 17:40, 1 keer totaal gewijzigd.

Egbert
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door Egbert » di 18 apr 2017, 16:15

Pino schreef: As a layman, it seems to me that Spain made one crucial mistake when they introduced Carretera Convencional on autovia/autopista signs. That is that they took a font optimized for signage in black letters against a light background and simply inverted it into a white letters against dark background font. They seemed completely oblivious of the halation effect that is the rationale behind the difference between 'positive' and 'negative' fonts. And the results have been predictably bad.
Is there a difference in font (size or otherwise) between white on blue ANWB signs vs red on white (bicycle) signs?

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Jffry101
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door Jffry101 » di 18 apr 2017, 16:46

^^ Yes there is. The ANWB fonts (and the newer RWS family too) come in two "weights". The regular version is designed for use in white on blue (light on a dark background), whereas the heavier version is designed for black on white (dark on a light background), i.e. a positive and a negative version.

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Wouter N14
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door Wouter N14 » di 18 apr 2017, 16:49

^^ We hoeven hier geen discussie in het Engels te voeren die geen betrekking heeft op de vraag van de topicstarter :idea:
Het mooiste overkomt je, het minste is bedacht. Freek de Jonge

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Rene
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door Rene » di 18 apr 2017, 17:48

peperodriguez2710 schreef:What I want to ask you is: Could you provide me with studies (if known) of sign legibility in the ANWB-Ee and ANWB-Ee VL typefaces (with a link if possible)?
The ANWB font (which has been replaced by the FHWA-similar RWS-font today) has been tested on legibility in the 60-ies and 70-ies. If there are any study reports left, they will certainly not be on the internet.

RWS-Ee (and former ANWB-Ee) has been derived from BPR Highway Gothic Series E (Modified).
BPR was the American Bureau of Public Roads, which has been replaced by the FHWA later. FHWA renamed its font Interstate.
In the Netherlands the BPR E(M) had been chosen bij ANWB and RIjkswaterstaat in the second half of the sixties because of the good legibility after a test with several roadfonts of those days. The spike-modification (M) must be credited for the high legability.

ANWB-Ee was slightly modified from BPR E(M). Again at the end of the nineties it has been modified for use on computer workstations by Visualogik (hence the VL code). In 2003 the RWS-Ee font emerged because the state highways no longer were signalized by the ANWB. After the ANWB stopped in 2013 making road signs the RWS-font is the only one maintained in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Highway Gothic font family consisted in the past of ANWB-Ee VL and ANWB-Cc VL. Those were quite similar to BPR/FHWA Series E(M) and BPR Series C.
Today the Dutch Highway Gothic font family consists of RWS-Ee VL, RWS-Dd VL and RWS-Cc VL, and they are quite similar to FHWA Interstate Series E(M), Series D(M) and Series C.
Bereikbaar op emailadres: secretaris [at] wegenforum.nl (zonder spaties, en met apestaartje i.p.v. [at])

peperodriguez2710
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door peperodriguez2710 » do 04 mei 2017, 19:46

waldo79 schreef:Very welcome at Wegenforum. Compliments with dropping your question in the correct subforum. It will be no problem to correspond in English.
Personally, I am not familiar with typeface legibility, but I know we have some expertise over here.
Thank you!
Pino schreef: (...)
Thanks for your complete and detailed answer, specially with your point of view with the kerning (I didn't thought it could make a bigger difference than changing the typeface). I'll also follow your advice to have a different actitude when telling Fomento, wise words. Thank you very much!
Rene schreef:(...)
Thank you very much for that additional information about the typefaces, there was many useful data!

Now everything seems clearer to me, thanks to everybody for the kind answers! I'll see what Fomento replies :write: (if they reply me :lol:)...

Greetings from the country that mixes full uppercase with lowercase hahaha, and have a nice day! :top:

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Willem
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door Willem » do 04 mei 2017, 20:26

Een regel op dit forum is dat er Nederlands, of ten minste Nederengels, gesproken wordt. Dat staat in de forumregels.

Kan iemand deze discussie, inclusief de titel, in het Nederlands vertalen? Dan kunnen mensen die graag willen vasthouden aan de Nederlandse taal (ja, het is ouderwets omdat ze in Engeland en Anerika Engels spreken) de discussie ook volgen.

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Snelwegfreak
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door Snelwegfreak » do 04 mei 2017, 21:09

^^
Forumregels schreef:1.7 Taalgebruik
De voertaal is Algemeen Nederlands.
Het gebruik van andere talen dan het Nederlands is niet toegestaan. Voor Engels, Duits en Frans geldt een uitzondering voor buitenlandse forumgebruikers die de Nederlandse taal niet beheersen en voor reacties van andere forumgebruikers op hun berichten.
Enne gojje mins blieft altied leave.

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Coen Tunnel
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door Coen Tunnel » vr 05 mei 2017, 0:11

Net even gecheckt: de Google Translate-vertaling voor deze pagina van Engels naar Nederlands is vrij behoorlijk, dus voor wie het per se in het Nederlands wil volgen is het een kleine moeite om de link van de pagina even naar Google Translate te kopiëren. :)
Deze gebruikers waarderen Coen Tunnel voor dit bericht:
Coen Tunnel

peperodriguez2710
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door peperodriguez2710 » do 12 okt 2017, 13:05

Sorry for bumping but Fomento replied the message I sent them with your additional suggestions and in the way you told me.
Aside from thanking me for my suggestion and that, they said that the comission in charge of the regulation which changed everything to Carretera Convencional had lots of discussion whether stick with one or other and that Carretera was decided because of "legibility and space ocuppied". Also they say that they will transfer my suggestion to the people working with signage and that in order to take it in count por future changes to the regulations (I doubt they will change them because a simple message but who knows hahahah).
Because of the answer, what I believe is that they decided using Carretera Convencional mainly because of the space occupied, as this typeface kerning and size is much smaller than Autopista (New signs look like 1/3 smaller than the old ones they replaced with Autopista) and having smaller signs results on smaller costs. And our government is trying to save money with cuts everywhere so for me looks plausible :|
And also now sign manufacturers don't have to be switching typefaces everytime so I believe maybe them also had something to say about this...
I didn't say things that I also think that could make our system better, like diagrammatic arrows on special cases instead of APL always, even when that creates confusion; or changes in other things, but I didn't want to overwhelm them and I thought my main purpose was about the typefaces so I didn't.

So I think our signs will continue to be not as good as they could, but at least I tried hahaha :dontknow:

Lots of thanks again for everybody, and have a nice day! :D

Pino
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Re: ANWB-Ee/Ee VL typeface legibility

Bericht door Pino » do 12 okt 2017, 14:01

^^ Thank YOU for your update 8-)