Comparing typefaces for airport signs
This study combined three research methodologies to inform the choice of a typeface for signs at London’s Heathrow Airport. The methodologies were legibility testing, qualitative consumer research, and expert review. The study showed that, contrary to a number of expert predictions, the serifed typeface performed as well as the sans serif in legibility testing. Character width was a more significant factor in legibility, with condensed sans serif performing relatively poorly. The use of multiple methodologies led to a richer basis for decision-making: the qualitative research revealed clear genre expectations among airport users for sans serif signs; the expert reviewers raised a range of additional issues of genre, culture and context.