Re: Special for Jeff Morrison

[Mr. Nazelrod:]

Note that the way most states do this is different from how Kansas
itself does it -- the demountable copy signs in KS often space the
letters between the directions out in a way that makes it more
aesthetically pleasing. See

for an example.

Kansas DOT used to have a standard plan sheet which specified the length of cardinal direction words. It was never explicitly spelled out in the sheet, as I recall, but the lengths were based on a 25% increase over normal intercharacter spacing. Unfortunately this standard plan sheet has vanished, as have the other KDOT standard plans dealing with demountable copy, in what looks like a conversion to direct-applied copy for all large freeway guide signing. There are efforts here and there to maintain the convention of 25% additional intercharacter spacing in cardinal direction words, but they are far from consistent. In the sign design sheets for the US 24 redesignation (which was awarded last year), some signs had the 25% increase in cardinal direction words while others had normal spacing.

Personally, when I draw signs, I don't try to recreate the additional spacing--but then I tend to pick and mix where unusual state-specific conventions are concerned.

Nebraska used to do something similar with increased intercharacter spacing on its small guide signs. The convention (which becomes evident on close study of photos of older signs) was to use noticeably wider spacing--I don't know if 25% was the precise figure, but it was close. Here is an example from US 81 just past the Kansas state line:

However, newer NDOR small guide signs use normal intercharacter spacing and are otherwise unremarkable, as in this sign near Alliance:

I am of two minds about the increased intercharacter spacing. It gets away from the plain-vanilla appearance of normal spacing and appeals to my American-primitivist sensibility, but I don't know if I would call it aesthetically pleasing--"picturesquely ugly" is closer to how I feel about it.

BTW, manipulation of intercharacter spacing is a big part of French sign design. On a single flag sign you can have "P A R I S" over "ARROMANCHES."