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The Road to Clarity – New York Times

The Road to Clarity:

When they stopped and turned, they were standing a couple hundred feet from the lineup below. There was the original Highway Gothic; British Transport, the road typeface used in the United Kingdom; Univers, found in the Paris Metro and on Apple computer keyboards; DIN 1451, used on road and train signage in Germany; and also Helvetica, the classic sans-serif seen in modified versions on roadways in a number of European countries. “There was something wrong with each one,” Meeker remembers. “Nothing gave us the legibility we were looking for.” The team immediately realized that it would have to draw something from scratch.

(Via Daring Fireball.)

It’s the little things that make all the difference; this is a neat article about how the font on road signs is changing, and why.

Oh, and…

Market research showed that many consumers identified the old AT&T with attributes like “monolithic” and “bureaucratic” — an image problem it hoped to fix, in part, with a new typeface.

Maybe they should have tried to fix that problem by not being either of those things?