carplate type basic info : thoughts and ideas : presentation half way :
When starting out to develop a license plate typeface, we were given requirements along the lines of German plate rejuvenation with FE Engschrift (Linotype), in which the characters could not be modified to look otherwise. Another limitation was to create monospaced type, which creates problems as characters are either too far apart or their dimensions will not be consistent in relation to each other; this is a problem with finnish license plate type in letters such as C and E.
We printed out several mock plates with monospaced Adobe fonts such as Orator, Letter Gothic and OCR. They were, however, unsuitable for use as available font weights were inadequate and the visual feel was very technical and cold. Our own sketches started out almost jugend in style and we wanted to have some stroke contrasts and more human feel to the characters.
While seeking ideas to escape the technical feel, we were digging out samples of type used in plates all around the world. Finnish license plates seemed to us as very uptight and dull, although we couldn't topple them at visibility. OCR-B seemed to work slightly modified, but when put on the wall with the rest, it too disappeared into blur. The official plate type has been in use at least since 1927, with only slight modifications and, although ugly as goat, it still rocks.
We saw that our letters were too light, too thin to survive these basic tests - it looked too narrow, even if it was the same width as official lettering. We are now heading on to fine-tuning the stroke contrasts smaller and making the letters thicker and wider in order to compensate the visual endgame.
We also made a trip to prison, but I'll tell more about that later on... keep watching this space!
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