Re: German ߫

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2013 03:07:22 +0100

Another solution is also used: Capitals written as Big capitals, and
lowercase written as small capitals (i.e. just a minor font size
True lowercase letters are causing problems on road sign indicators on
roads with high speed : they are hard to read and if the driver has to
look at them for one more second, he does not look at the road.
There's a security concern and it's not a minor problem. Font styles
are also studied to use the simplest glyphs without any extra
decoration which would distract the driver, especially on dynamic
displays. For static displays, only legal forms and colors are
admitted, so that these displays don't need to be completely
deciphered and are immediately recognized. It is then safer to just
show what is essential.

And on dynamic display indicators (whose content is displayed but
changes according to current conditions), there are laws that prohibit
using anything else then just big capitals, and prohibit any soft of
color enhancement or decoration, and require strong contrast, i.e.
either white or yellow on black or dark color, or black on white or
yellow ; the red color may be used on the icon to signal a danger).
All text effects are prohibited (including italics, underlining,
boldness, narrowing or widening). But some font sizes adjustments are
possible for less essential information. There are also required icons
for signaling dangers, but these icons must also be folllowed by what
they mean, i.e. "DANGER" which cannot be smaller or larger than thre
essential message.
E.g. for signaling dangers of wind, the DANGER icon is diaplyed
followed by "DANGER : VENT VIOLENT" (violent wing), but the indication
of the effective speed of wind (in km/h) being less essential may be
smaller. But it still has to avoid all sorts of decorations, and
letters remain in capitals (e.g. "RAFALES 80 KM/H" instead of
"Rafales 80 km/h").
Less essential information like the time to reach a destination, or
the length of traffic jams is less essential than the distance where
the traffic jam is expected to occur after the indicator.
These are all cases of very short texts, without true sentences, they
are expected to be read very fast and understood immediately without
distracting the driver. They are not advertisements...

Only local place names may be lowercased (no minor roads or within
cities to give names of streets or names of touristic points of
interest, or the direction of some local services), but not on high
speed roads or motorways (for example to signal exits on motorways or
high speed roads, or the lane to keep to follow a direction before a

2013/2/16 Julian Bradfield <>:
> On 2013-02-16, Philippe Verdy <> wrote:
>> 2013/2/16 Stephan Stiller <>:
>>> Of course in my worldview, all-caps writing is deprecated :-)
>> This is a presentation style which makes words more readable in some
>> conditions, notably on plates displayed on roads (cities are extremely
>> rarely written in lowercase, as this is more difficult to read from
>> far away when driving).
> Half a century ago, the UK, after extensive empirical testing,
> mandated mixed case for road signs because it is significantly easier
> to read at speed.
> Our cousins across the Atlantic have finally caught on, and
> the U.S. Federal Highway Administration now mandates mixed case for
> place names, while leaving fixed wording in all caps.
Received on Sat Feb 16 2013 - 20:12:06 CST

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