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FHWA Series "Highway" Gothic - Which vendor sells the "real" one?

Bobby H

Arial Sucks.
I'm considering updating the Highway Gothic fonts I have with newer, more authentic versions. I would prefer the exact version of Series 2000 Gothic used in the 2003 MUTCD pdf manuals. It would be nice to be able to open up a page of the SHS pdf book in Illustrator and not have the type get substituted with Myriad Pro.

The problem is there's no definitive statement from the fhwa.dot.gov website on which font from which exact vendor was used. Basically anyone designing road and traffic signs is left to their own efforts at finding the most suitable "flavor" of typeface. There's lots of different places selling Highway Gothic fonts or even offering them for free.

For a long time Page Studio Graphics (www.vershen.com) sold what many considered to be the proper FHWA Series Gothic fonts. However, their fonts don't appear to be the ones used in the MUTCD manuals -at least the names are not the same. Page Studio Graphics sells theirs via the "Highway Gothic" name under two categories, the standard version many already have and a newer "2002" version. I suppose the 2002 version copies the "Series 2000" font designs.

DGI Traffic's website (named www.fhwa.org) sells a different collection of FHWA Series Gothic fonts. Their website is pretty slick and so are their product packages. Still, I'm unsure if this outfit is the one behind making the actual font used in the MUTCD manuals. They have three different FHWA Series Gothic font packages. One is a legacy 1966 and 1977 package with limited character sets. Then there's a FHWA Series 2000 package with complete upper and lowercase character sets. The third package is a "2000EX" set with expanded character sets. The fourth package, not yet released, is described as an "extended view" package. That sort of implies that perhaps a new MUTCD manual is on the way with new alphabets. Still, as official as the website looks, I'm not entirely sold on these fonts.

I don't want to end up spending $300 or $400 on a set of Series Gothic fonts that don't work correctly with the MUTCD manual. It would really stink to sink that money into fonts if they have no better quality than something like the "Roadgeek" fonts one can download for free.

At least the situation with ClearviewHwy is more simple. Only one outfit produces and sells them. But $795 can seem like a lot of money to spend for 13 OTF/TT fonts. And only a few states have adopted Clearview thus far. Most others are sticking with FHWA Series Gothic for now.

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
Page was the recommended source for years, as you stated. The only source I know of, not mentioned by you, which claims to comply with all requirements including the correct letterspacing is Gerber Scientific Products. I have never, however, seen or heard anything from them as to a 2002 edition.

Bobby H

Arial Sucks.
I forgot about the Gerber fonts. But I think those are based on the same 1977 designs as those sold by Page Studio Graphics. They look better than the ones on the Flexi font CD (those just have to go).

I'm waiting for some word back for more details from DGI Traffic regarding their Series 2000 fonts. If I had to cave in and buy a particular package right now I'd probably get their "2000EX" font set for all the extra glyphs. It looks like it might be worth the extra $100 in price.


New Member
The PDF files on the FHWA's own web site don't draw the letters using curves and lines, but actually uses fonts called SeriesB2000-Normal (and C, D, E, ModE and F)! Looking inside those fonts, they appear to come from URW ("URW America, Inc. Copyright 1998 by URW"). I suppose since they are used in the official spec, they should be correct (and otherwise, the spec is now officially wrong :)). Fonts named "SAA Series B standard (D)" etc. are on sale at www.urwpp.de . Prices don't look too bad.


New Member
Hey Bobby,
Before you invest in the highway fonts, you may want to read this.
It seems that ClearView Hwy may soon become the new standard for highway "fonts". While more expensive, it would sure beat having to buy the current standard, only to have to uprgade in the near future.
Is this for a client or a specific project? If so, you may want to discuss this with the client.