Fonts in graphics pointers

Modern society is actively developing, extends their settlements: villages turn into cities, cities into metropolises. Each day thousands of people move across the city: in the morning – to work, in the evening – back home, over the weekend – to cultural establishments and parks, but not a lot of people think about the question “how did I manage to get to the destination point so quickly, since my city has a few hundreds of streets, tens of blocks, squares and dead ends and I could have turned the wrong way at any moment”. Needless to say in the last few years vehicles are using GPS navigators, but it wasn’t always like this. Graphical pointers: sign plates, inscriptions, building numbers, arrows and signs – those are the guarantees of quick and precise transportation. The most important thing on all pointers – is the font that can quickly and clearly convey the necessary information. Who invented and when did the first systems of visual navigation appear?

It all “started” back in 1816, when the first fonts that didn’t have serifs appeared in America, England and France: “Gothic type”, “Sans serif” and “Grotesque” accordingly. These fonts were widely used in advertisement campaigns because at that time the typeface of the characters without serifs was considered to be “Provocative”, that is why people paid attention to the inscriptions. One hundred years after (in 1916) at the commission of British government teacher of calligraphy and painter from England Edward Johnston created a special font “Underground” (later – Railway Type, after than Johnston), which was used in the London underground. In 1933 “Johnston” font was used not only in the subway but also in the whole transportation system of London.

Famous company Lynotype in 1936, at the commission of Standards Institute (Germany) created geometrical grotesque – Din 1451 which up to this day is used on German highways, direction signs, in airports, on the railway transport and ports. Neighbors of Germans also contributed to the culture of fonts, except that their Helvetica (Schelter and Akzident-Grotesk) is used far beyond Europe – all graphical pointers of transportation systems of New York are designed with the usage of this font

How come such great attention is given to the method of writing of symbols, letters and number on transportation signs? It’s all simple – drivers should clearly and quickly understand what is written on the sign plate even at high speeds, since otherwise it would be impossible to avoid large-scale accidents and disasters.
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