32 Comment

  • Is there a reason why the “ew” is larger font than the “ampshire”?

  • orderedchaos

    Full disclosure: I’m a bit of a font nerd. Anyway, it looks great for Decatur, crisp and easily-read.

    But it’s awful for New Hampshire. The latter is seriously awkward — the anorexic H, the fact that “ew” and “ampshire” are completely different… terrible. Reminds me of those PLAN AHEAd signs.

  • I can’t stand them. Keep the ALL CAPS Please. Ah well, the deed is done. So wasteful of our taxpayer dollars.

    Hopefully DPW will allow residents to buy the old signs (or adopt) as decorations for their man caves and not just recycle them!

    • Agreed…

      This town has so many other things to spend the relative fortune they are spending doing this. Complete waste of time and money.

      • This does not cost any extra money. They are only putting in new signs where older signs were already scheduled to be replaced.

    • No. All Caps are more difficult to read, so the FEDS wisely changed the signage regulations to upper/lower case.

      DC is not just redoing the signs – they are doing them in batches, and rotating the new signs in.

      Good job DDOT.

    • springroadintoaction

      It’s changed to mixed case because mixed case is more visible and legible from further distances and with quick looks. It’s in keeping with decade-old guidance from the USDOT, which the city has to abide by.

  • springroadintoaction

    From what I understand, and have heard from multiple people, that New Hampshire sign was posted on accident, and that it was actually just a test piece. I think it’s supposed to be replaced.

    • Yes, some of the test run signs were put up by mistake. There was a mismatched one at NH & GA Aves that has since been replaced. If you notify DDOT, I’m pretty sure they’ll come by and replace the one at NH & Decatur too.

    • That’s correct New Hampshire is a mistake, not sure how it made it up on the post but not surprising at the same time. The Decatur sign is the way they will all look. Not just on DC city signs but on all roads across the US. It’s called Clearview.


    • +1.

      I hate the new font.

      It’s hard for me to imagine that the federal guidelines they’re complying with are actually SUPPOSED to make the text look that ugly, that small, and that hard to read. (Of course, it wouldn’t exactly be surprising if D.C. managed to screw up something that other jurisdictions have been implementing without problems.)

      The new signs I’ve seen, like the one for the 700 block of Morton off Georgia Avenue, have the lower-case lettering in a size that’s very small and hard to read.

      I get the feeling that DPW is having a bunch of yahoos do the typesetting for the new signs. They fixed the “New Hampshire” sign that had “ew” and “ampshire” in different sizes… but it seems like something is seriously off with the quality control.

      I suspect that some of the new signs might not actually comply with the federal standards that were their whole raison d’être in the first place.

      • Actually, DC has one issue other Jursidictions don’t: the beveling of DC street signs lessens the space that can be used for printing.

        other than that, these signs comply with USDOT regulations.

        • Can you elaborate on the beveling issue?

          • Sure, but first, let me correct my error – it is not beveling, extrusion that DC street signs have. Look at the photo above, and note at the top and bottom of the sign, it has edges that are folded over the sign. This makes the street sign stiffer, so they warp less frequently than flat signs, but it takes away print space and costs more to print them than the more standard flat plate signs )because the flat plate signs can be stamped, extrusion signs cannot). So it’s a trade off: longer life of the sign verse available space for signage.

  • looks like a mistake

  • Umm, what was wrong with the old signs? Hell if anything, the should at least use the money for this for the streets that don’t have signs at all. I can’t tell you how many times I have been looking for a cross street and there is no damn sign anywhere letting me know what the cross street is.

  • Awful. They should at least be uniform in font size. Otherwise, they’ve fixed one problem by creating another.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I do not like the new signs. I don’t mind the mixed case, but I hate the font.

  • Lots of thought went into these changes, apparently: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/magazine/12fonts-t.html?pagewanted=all. These thoughts were thought by experts in the field, so all of our lay aesthetic opinions aren’t that relevant.

    • Fascinating article; thanks for sharing the link!

      I don’t doubt at all the amount of thought that when into it. When I see new signs that are hard to read, though, I wonder if something went awry at the implementation stage.

      The New Hampshire Ave. sign example definitely shows that bugs were still being worked out. But I think there are others… the “orton” in the new “Morton” looks tiny, as does the “uackenbos” in the new “Quackenbos.”

  • So this is where our tax dollars are being spent…

    • Well, yes and no.

      Thanks to a kerfluffle in NYC, the signs are now allowed to be put in place at the normal sign replacement rotation of the (city/county/state) that is responsible for replacing them.

      So it is tax dollars at work, but these are tax dollars already assigned to sign replacement.

  • change is scary.

  • Very poorly kerned!

    They should have used Kennerly Old Style: http://www.fontshop.com/fonts/downloads/richard_beatty/kennerley/

    • As pretty as it is, that font isn’t a sans-serif font. Serif fonts are supposedly harder to read, so the font would need to be sans-serif.

      • I’m afraid you’re right… but why let something like “readability” detract from the aesthetics!

  • Decatur looks great. I really like it. They’ll fix New Hampshire.

  • The new signs are horrible. Stick to the traditional fonts and designs.

  • Will they no longer be putting the DC flag on the signs for the major thoroughfares? (Example: http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumblarge_500/1272901764TDtvO2.jpg)

    I can’t remember if New Hampshire was one of the streets with the flag on the sign or not.

    • I believe the flags indicate major evacuation routes. That turned out to be too subtle, so new little add-on signs that say ‘evacuation route’ have been added.

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