Bad news for Clearview



  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,458
    Great, the politicians get their fingers where they don't belong again.
  • SiDanielsSiDaniels Posts: 277
    Can we pin this on the politicians? Probably the same officials who thought putting Arial Bold "20" on our banknotes was a good idea.
  • The article says, "(Meeker and Associates disclaimed exclusive rights to the “Clearview” copyright.)"

    What does that mean?
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 996
    edited January 2016
    I was surprised to read that Clearview use wasn't paid for by the Fed govt when it was developed. Instead, every jurisdiction pays a license fee. I think this story buried the lede. 
  • A step back that has to be done again.
  • Jameson R SpiresJameson R Spires Posts: 20
    edited January 2016
    The FHWA should've absorbed the research and licensing costs of Clearview. Not doing so likely was because they did not intend on replacing Highway Gothic in full to begin with.
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    edited January 2016
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  • I've seen projects to which I gave my entire being go south after many years, so I can relate, James. But those projects/businesses are dead and buried and Clearview is still alive.  And things change over time.

    The Social Security agency recently sent me a bulletin telling me that I can expect to live to the age of 83.  I hadn't thought about it, really but I probably have time to get a few more long term projects done until the reaper arrives.

    As to the buried lead of licensing fees, yes, considering today's political climate, it would not surprise me if any licensing fee at all - especially to local governments - triggered a re-evaluation of Clearview - aesthetic and legibility improvements be damned.

    A fight for another day.

  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 996
    edited January 2016
    @Stephen Coles The Clearview project was totally self-initiated and never received a dime from the Feds.
    Good to know! Have you been in contact with anyone at all about renegotiating the licensing model so they don't just toss the project?
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  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 996
    edited February 2016
    I don't doubt Clearview is more effective. That's why it seems the cost is the roadblock. Not saying you shouldn’t be paid, just wonder if there was ever opportunity for renegotiation. 
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  • The Clearview letters are superior—no doubt about it—but I find that an equal consideration is the spacing, a factor that wasn't mentioned by anyone. If you look at the Hellertown/Bethlehem signs in the link posted by Mark Simonson, you can see what I mean. The Clearview version shows "proper" typesetter's spacing, whereas the Highway Gothic version is very loose, as if laid out with some sort of uniform spacer. In my view, the Highway Gothic spacing is better for its purpose; the Clearview is too close and runs the risk of "blobbing," just as the poor Highway Gothic letterforms do. If the spacing of the Clearview sign were more wider, I have a feeling that it would be demonstrably superior to the Highway Gothic.

    I have no idea how the letters are laid out on the signs, or whether the method is the same from one locale to another, but I have no doubt that spacing is an equal consideration to the letterforms themselves. The problem with testing of this kind is that it is done in simulation, never tested as real signage on the road, and the methods of "typesetting" might be quite different from the way the signs are made.

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,458
    @Scott. I much prefer the Clearview spacing for legibility as well as aesthetics.  I just hate looking  at the overly spaced Highway Gothic.  It was such a pleasure seeing Clearview pop up here in Virginia a few years ago.  This whole decision smacks of a politician's ego looking for a place to make a visible legacy at the end of their tenure.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    Didn’t the bureaucrats in Flint resist switching back to Detroit water because of the cost?
  • Chris, I'm afraid we're each aging in our own way. My problem is that my eyes adjust ever more slowly to changing distances, so the older I get, the more I rely on every piece of information I can while driving. I find myself estimating the number of letters as a clue before I can actually read the sign. Looser spacing makes this easier, though better letterforms help, too. Sad to say, I'm willing to give up my typographer's sensibility each time I get into a car. I'm glad that you're still able to maintain higher standards.

  • Russell McGormanRussell McGorman Posts: 261
    edited January 2016
    Kent Lew , I'd make a distinction there. It was politicians who poisoned Flint. Bureaucrats follow rules and little things like clean water regulations are something you want a good cohort of dedicated bureaucrats there to make sure they are followed
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,391
    edited January 2016
    James Montalbano said: @Dave Crossland it means that Meeker protects and enforces the trademarks on ClearviewHwy, ClearviewText and ClearviewADA, but not Clearview, which was a requirement imposed by FHWA. The NPS Rawlinson fonts I designed for the National Par Service contained a NPS Rawlinson Roadway design that was approved by FHWA but they insisted I abandon the Rawlinson trademark. I refused and renamed the approved roadway font NPS Roadway.
    So nothing at all to do with copyrights and all to do with trademarks! That makes much more sense - thank you for the clarification James :)
    Kent Lew said: Didn’t the bureaucrats in Flint resist switching back to Detroit water because of the cost?
    That has been widely reported, but seems to be untrue.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,974
    Chris, Scott-Martin,

    Spacing in road signs tends to be quire variable, in my experience. My assumption is that the specs for the signs allow certain tolerances for tighter spacing before the size of the sign has to be increased to accommodate e.g. a long place name. Take a look at the illustrations in the article, and compare the 'nk' spacing in Fairbanks on the first Clearview sign with the sightly tighter 'hl' in Bethlehem in the second.

    I prefer the looser spacing, but the Highway Gothic spacing tends to be way too loose, as well as unproportional, and any legibility gain from lack of crowding is counteracted by the necessary reduction in the size of the letters.
  • In the future - for those cars that are not driverless - the roadsign will come up somewhere onscreen in the car, if you want, solving the problem of having to adjust your eyes to the movement of the car as you near the roadsign.   We will also all be famous for fifteen minutes.  Don't forget that.

  • The problem isn't the licensing model, the problem is the new administrators of the FHWA value uniformity over innovation. 
    This was my conclusion based on the article.
    Value trumps cost, rationality and expertise. 
  • The article was good up until that last paragraph. Sigh :-( Something set these guys off, but $20 says it wasn't the fees.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,458
    Politicians and payoffs.
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