New York gets a clearer view

Typeface change spells goodbye to all UPPERCASE signs in favour of easier to read mix of Upper and Lower

It sometimes seems - to Brits, at least - that Americans have a love of uppercase lettering. Just look at the newspaper headlines, with Every Single Word Starting With A Capital. But that’s no longer the case - so to speak - in New York. The Federal Highway Administration is in the process of installing new street signs, which drop the all-uppercasing in favour of mixed-case signs. Hence GREENE ST now reads Greene St. It’s all in aid of adhering to national standards in typography and surface reflectivity. Around 11,000 street names have so far had the mixed-case treatment, of a total of 250,000. A newish typeface has been adopted for the signage – Clearview, which was created in the 1990s – replacing what is known locally as Highway Gothic.

Studies have shown that it is harder to read all-caps signs, and those extra milliseconds spent staring away from the road have been shown to increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly among older drivers, federal documents say. "On the Internet, writing in all caps means you are shouting," city Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said. "Our new signs can quiet down, as well." If you're a fan of things typographical you really should check out The Phaidon Archive Of Graphic Design which  features 500 graphic designs including newspapers, magazines, posters, advertisements, typefaces, logos, corporate design, record covers and moving graphics from all over the world on a series of beautifully printed sheets. The box is a pretty neat addition to any living space too.