If you’ve driven down Lincoln Street recently, you’ll likely have noticed this sign, printed on a 12-inch tall blank:
OK, that’s an improvement — I could actually read that one from across an intersection. It’s still ugly as all get-out, but I could read it.
With our mysteriously limitless sign replacement budget, I suppose we could just replace all of our signs with these humongous ones. Switching to a readable sans-serif font is way too practical & cheap for Worcester.
(As an aside, Big Beverly proves that the sign shop still doesn’t know what to do with descenders — notice how the tail on the “y” touches the bottom border. The whole thing should have been set a half inch higher on the blank. Worcester’s now full of descender-related bloopers.)
For those of you interested in typography in general, I recommend reading Just My Type by Simon Garfield. The most interesting part of the book, though not detailed enough, was a chapter devoted to highway signage, and the competition between MOT Serif and Transport for use on British highways (see this excellent post for examples of both and a good critique of the book, which is not without its faults).
I remain unconvinced that mixed case is the way to go on regular street signage, and my newfound crush on MOT Serif may be to blame, but that’s a discussion for another day.
(And if you can indulge me on linking to another discussion on signage types — read this and the associated links.)