Sunday, June 15, 2008

Type quiz

From the hallway signage in Town Square in downtown St. Paul. This is really great because there's a duplicate of almost every letter in "UBS Plaza" in the rest of the sign. So you can make a thorough comparison.

Question: What two typefaces are used here?

Bonus question: Why are two typefaces used?

Extra-credit question: If inconsistant font usage delighted me on this sign, why does it bug me here?

5 comments:

Kate said...

Q: Um, because they are inattentive bozos?

BQ: I wouldn't presume to guess, but I'm pretty sure Arial isn't involved.

ECQ: Because they used only one font per line--didn't mix them up within words. Kinda sets it off a little. And using the traditional black marquee is "real." The church is givin' us that old-time technology.

Toast Radio said...

The Gill Sans stands out loud and clear, but I'm not so sure of the one used on the other three. Stone Sans? Myriad?

Looks like "Bremer Tower" got a bit stretched there, too.

David Steinlicht said...

My answers.

1. Most of the type is Frutiger and "UBS Plaza" is Gill Sans. [Points to Toast Radio.]

2. Two typefaces are used because "UBS Plaza" was added after the sign was completed and whoever specced the replacement type blew it. [Points to Kate] [And, yes, the letterspacing is not consistent. And -- are the arrows in different fonts?]

3. A person changing the letters on a church marquee every week is not expected to pay attention to design details, they are using all available tools to solve today's problem: Get the words on the sign. Any slip-ups and design inconsistencies make the sign endearing.

But, a person assembling expensive-looking permanent commercial signage is indeed expected to pay attention to design details. [Points to Kate.]

Mark Simonson said...

Hi David! First time commenter here.

The bottom one ("Bremer Tower") is actually Myriad. It's pretty hard to tell the difference between Frutiger and Myriad with these characters, but if you look closely at the "e" and the top of the "B" you'll see the difference. It also sets slightly wider, although at first I thought they had simply stretched it.

Adobe has been accused of ripping off Frutiger with its Myriad, and you can see why in this example. Although, depending on the words you set, it can look more different. And the italic is very different.

David Steinlicht said...

Thanks for writing, Mark!

I say this in all seriousness: In all things typographic, I bow to your wisdom.

Guess my quiz is more difficult than I imagined.

[Plus points for Mark.]

[Plus points for Toast Radio.]

[Minus points for David.]