For Freeway Signage and For Design Coverage, Finally a Clearview


We never thought we’d be writing this on a sleepy August morning, but an article that appeared over the weekend marks a turning point for our country’s graphic design coverage. With one intelligent swoop designers have gone from “those wacky type wonks” to “those smart people who are really doing something valuable for culture.”

The Road to Clarity” is by Joshua Yaffa (who we’re planning on marrying later this week) and it’s a massive six-pager in the NY Times Mag about how the freeway signage across America is slowly being re-set in the superior Clearview, not the fuzzy Highway Gothic we’ve come to love. The article is a truly in-depth look at these tinkerers of type, with WSJ-like headshot illustrations of the designers behind the movement, Don Meeker and James Montalbano, as well as Tobias Frere-Jones (looking quite dapper, we must say).

Along the way we learn many valuable facts, like how Helvetica didn’t make the cut (this is no popularity contest), why they didn’t use Interstate (well, it seemed like the obvious choice to us), and the excruciating process of selling Clearview through the many layers of government (enough to make you want to run for office). In the end, it’s an incredibly-detailed and much-overdue look at the work of all the peeps we surely have no shortage of love for, but this time it actually seems like the rest of the world is finally coming around.