Admiring the dubious charms of Big Beverly

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.)


6 thoughts on “Admiring the dubious charms of Big Beverly

  1. MIKE says:


    • Nicole says:

      In print, yes; on a large sign on the highway, most definitely.

      In Times New Roman on a street sign, no!

      (An example of a mixed-case sign that I really like is Pleasant Street in Shrewsbury, which is off of South Quinsigamond; I’ve got to take a picture of it!)

  2. matt says:

    Just an FYI on this….Beverly Rd. was under construction and this is the private contractors sign…..not a sign produced by the City sign shop.

  3. Joe says:

    Matt, that’s good to know. However, if the City had their act together, they would have standards that contractors would have to follow when producing signs. As it is, the city doesn’t even have a standard among the signs we are creating internally. How can we call out the contractor for being inconsistent if the City DPW is not?

  4. Joe says:


  5. stewart says:

    There are no longer street signs at the intersection of Mill and June, June and May, or Glendale and June

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