Typography in the United States

| Carol Liao

So it’s Independence Day in the US and America needs some extra lovin’ after all the stress and agony from Tuesday’s loss to Belgium. Here in Amsterdam, it’s just another beautiful summer Friday. But in our office of primarily Americans, it’s really lacking fireworks and some good ol’ American barbecue. So, I’m compensating with something I love more than fireworks and barbecues; typography. While typography may not be specifically “American”, I thought it would be interesting to take a deeper look into the typography that ‘the people in charge’ have decided was American enough to live in places that define our country.

New York City’s Redesigned Parking Signs

Last year, Pentagram redesigned New York City’s parking signs. If there was ever a time the general public learned to appreciate good typography, it was when the simplified signs hit the streets. The signs were designed with more consistency and legibility in attempts to reduce parking tickets and the amount of time and frustration that drivers of Manhattan struggle with daily. See the results.

US Men’s National Team Kit Typeface

Even though we won’t be using these kits anymore, the design of the typeface is still worth a look. How did Nike come to decide on Rex, a free font designed by FontFabric in 2012? This unique and angular font draws elements from other US sport team numbers, and is bold and legible enough to represent our exceptional players out on the field. More from the font studio.

The US Federal Highway Administration’s Typeface

I can only imagine how much worse the catastrophes on the highways would be if they were set in a less legible typeface. The United States Federal Highway Administration hired Ted Forbes to design a highly legible and quickly scannable typeface to use for road signage in the US. It has been used by numerous other countries, including the Netherlands. The typeface includes seven fonts, each with a set of rules for when and where to use. Read about the history behind the FHWA font.

The Design Evolution of The White House Website

A breif look into the history of the White House website. It was last redesigned in 2009 to better suit Barack Obama’s campaign style. While not the best example of typography nor site design, it is a huge step up from its previous stylings. 2001 was the first time a sans-serif font was introduced into the site, adding some modernism and legibility to their body copy. The site now uses Lucida Sans, Georgia, and Arial to reflect the classical feel of the White House. See the progress.

Laten we nu eens barbecue! (Now let’s barbecue!)