Home Asides A matter of fonts

A matter of fonts

by Benjamin Kabak

Columbus Circle is a mess right now, but no matter how crazy things get, the MTA’s familiar Akisdenz Grotesk signs are there to point the way. That is, until now. The excellently-named blog +/- notes that the fonts on the temporary signs at 59th St. are completely wrong. Even the line bullets look off.

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6 comments

James D October 22, 2008 - 3:19 pm

Is that Univers that I spy?

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Benjamin Kabak October 22, 2008 - 3:22 pm

Indeed it is. I wonder if it was a postscript replacement font. It certainly looks jarringly wrong in the subway.

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P October 22, 2008 - 4:37 pm

Isn’t the MTA’s font Helvetica?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helvetica#Usage

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Josh October 22, 2008 - 4:46 pm

Temporary signage is frequently the responsibility ofthe contractors or construction management firm. Contractors don’t give a damn about fonts, unless its in the contract language AND someone at the agency is willing to enforce the language.

On many government projects in New York, the contractors do whatever they want and aren’t held accountable because its not worth the legal fees or the project delay.

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Scott E October 22, 2008 - 10:07 pm

I’ve seen worse. At the Flatbush Ave. LIRR (Atlantic Ave IRT stop) the blue plywood walls restrict your line of sight so much that there are 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper stapled to the walls directing you to platforms for the various tracks. Surprisingly, they are easy to read.

Changing the font of line letters/numbers isn’t new. We’ve seen the subtle differences between Helvetica and Akisdenz Grotesk on the J train (compare this to this. Plus, some permanent signage on the headhouse at Bowling Green makes the numbers a little fancier and a little nicer than the standard font.

Regarding the image in the original article, I like how the arrow was turned upside-down. You can tell by the white line at the bottom instead of the top!

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Logrithmic October 23, 2008 - 2:15 pm

I made the same observation a couple of weeks ago.

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