Archive for category: Type I Saw Today

Type samples from the real world

Beaten-up façade sits behind scaffolding. Helvetica letters read FOOD
Gas station, in deep shadow, has sign reading NATIONAL GAS AND VARIETY in Cooper Black fake small caps
970, with descending 9 and 7, written in extruded-looking numbers raised considerably off a building’s stucco wall
Streetcar doors have small STOP signs and the word it’s with voids formed by the doors’ windows
Information symbol i sits superimposed next to an overhead photo of the CN Tower
Vibrant orange type in a store window reads 200+
Fraction of sign shows ANCE UTION with scenes of Paris inside the first word
Flagstone step is inscribed with 2178

Or so I suspect.

The Ontario Realty Corp., which, despite its grand name, manages only provincial-government buildings, sent out a questionnaire recently about accessible signage in buildings. Apparently they’re trying to research some kind of standard for same.

My suspicions were immediately raised by the fact that the whole process was being done in secret. It seems obvious to me that only incumbent organizations like the CNIB were being canvassed. CNIB wouldn’t be the only one, of course, but they would be the organization viewed with the most credibility on issues of blindness – about which they have exactly none when it comes to accessibility of signage. The entire “Ckear Print” fiasco barely scratches the surface of it; I have an entire folder of documentation on how the CNIB and GO Transit bungled GO’s new signage standard, for example.

So here’s what I think is going to happen: These incumbent organizations will pretend there isn’t enough research on the topic, ignore the findings of whatever research they did manage to dig up, and issue counterfactual and baseless advice for this upcoming “standard.” By coïncidence, the advice will be to use whatever fonts come free with Windows NT – and only fonts that appear high up in an alphabetized Font menu. That means Arial.

There’ll be lots of Braille, too, despite the fact that Braille-and-raised-letter wall signage is completely useless to blind and low-vision people. (Blind people don’t know the sign exists; low-vision people can barely spot the smudge on the wall. Braille-and-raised wall signage exists to make sighted people, who can walk right over to it and rub their fingers across it, feel good about doing something for blind people.) (more…)

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