Type design for Dutch road signs (1997) ANWB
The Leiden industrial design firm n|p|k had been given the job of redesigning Holland’s so-called ‘hand pointers’ (small signposts). It was convenient at the same time to replace the old lettering, which was the same as the type on American signposts and had not long since been worked up into a complete typeface called Interstate (1993). The client was the anwb, the country’s main motoring organisation and the body charged with providing all its road signs. The anwb’s chief requirements were that the new type should take up less space and still be more legible, without being conspicuously different from its predecessor (the rationale being to avoid giving drivers unnecessary surprises and thereby possibly causing accidents). Although this type is read very differently from most of my designs — from a large distance, rather than thirty or forty centimetres — it became apparent once again that enlarging the counters improved legibility. For the rest, the letter forms were narrowed and in effect completely redesigned, but with minor references to the old letters.
Kras, R., ‘Ontwerpen als Methodisch Proces’, in Nederlands Fabrikaat. Industriële Vormgeving, Utrecht, 1997