millamu's picture

I´m looking for a typeface that is suitable for a wayfinding-system for
a hospital... After a lot of searching for the perfect typeface, I´m still not saticfied, and I just need some input or inspiration...any tips or good advices? :)

Renko's picture

The first which comes to mind would be FF Info, which was created for this special use.

millamu's picture

This one is already one of the typefaces I´m concidering, but thanks for
fast feedback!

Renko's picture

Okay, welcome, Camilla. So let's stop that wild guessing and please tell which ones you have had already in mind and what exactly you like or dislike by them … or what you prefer in your special typeface.

In other cases it would probably be just a wild shooting in the dark. And you could get hit by a ricochet of a list of hundreds of fonts. Or none.

russellm's picture

FF Info is great from a sign making point of view - Slightly rounded corners really speed up the plotting and weeding of vinyl letters.

... and it looks good too.


blank's picture

Mårten Thavenius’ Aptifer is a pretty awesome new typeface I’ve been looking at a lot lately, and quite appropriate for this use.

William Berkson's picture

Frutiger is often used for wayfinding, and is one of the great sans faces of all time.

Frutiger is probably as close to 'perfect' as you are going to find, but I'm not sure if you want perfect. In a hospital you don't usually have to look at signs from long distances, so I would think that the mood or look you want to create is most important. Therefore, you have a very wide range of fonts that are possible.

For example, Bliss is a warmer sans than Frutiger, and that might be a nice lift of mood in a Hospital.

Reed Reibstein's picture

Arrival and Clearview Text are both made for signage, albeit both for long-distance viewing (airports and highway signs).

EDIT; More Arrival info here and related Clearview info here.

writingdesigning's picture

"In a hospital you don’t usually have to look at signs from long distances..."

It could also depend on the particular hospital, and also the wayfinding model.

We're working on signage for a hospital where corridors run for about a 100mtrs from main nodes (where directories are placed). Facility pointers need to be readable from at least about half that distance. For that project, by the way, Myriad has worked quite well.

millamu's picture

Yes, Renko, of course :)... At this point I am testing these fonts: Fago, Vektora, Transit, Frutiger, Scala Sans, and Maurea. I want to find a typeface that is clear, readable, legible and solid, that express effectiveness and that the site is «modern» and offer the best medical treatment. At the same time I´m looking for a human, friendly quality in the tyeface, and I want it to have an own «identity» (sorry, my English is not the best, but I want it to stand out a bit from the well known typefaces, Frutiger, etc, but still have that quality that it is effective in a wayshowing-system). Heh,well, I want all! And I want it to have a touch of elegance, that might give the patients and visitors less feeling of beeing in an institution. Ok, these are my thoughts and wishes, if you know a perfect of suitable typeface, please tell.

And all you others: thank you for the tips. I´m checking them out now, and I´m excited!

lapiak's picture

Here's a hint: Do a warp perspective on a text block as if you're looking at the typeface from an acute angle. The more legible and readable it is, the better.

Nick Cooke's picture

Chevin may fit the bill.

Nick Cooke

tomasu's picture

A push for my ex-instructor: Arrival

.00's picture

ClearviewHwy was designed for roadway applications.

ClearviewText was designed for text and works for signage.

ClearviewADA was developed specifically for pedestrian signage and conforms to ADA guidelines.


Renko's picture

Mille grazie, Camilla. Now we are talking. You already have a lot of excellent suggestions. Chevin is so wonderful!

If you haven't found the right choice by now, I may add one of my actual favourites: Sansa, Parry or Monitor or some others from the excellent Fred Smeijers Collection.

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Hi there:

Does the hospital have an existing identity? Your choice needs to fit in with existing graphics otherwise it may cause confusion and convey a “hodge podge” unprofessional quality. This can trickle down into how people perceive the hospital.

Myriad and Frutiger are tried and true for the purpose, but hardly groundbreaking (I like Myriad better). Maurea is lovely. Scala Sans is excellent for way-finding, but if not used correctly can be industrial and clinical- use warm colors and graphics. Look at Metro.net as an example.

Arrival does not have condensed weights yet.
Chevin may be too trendy if not used correctly for a hospital- it's nice tho. Clearview is just not attractive and too masculine for my taste- a Meta Highway? However, it does have a complement of extensive weights and styles.

And speaking of Meta- if you combine Meta with Frutiger you get AXIS by Akira Kobayashi... it will cost you a pretty penny though, but its better looking than Clearview or Meta and fresher than Frutiger or Myriad. It is expressly designed for way-finding. I know- its an offbeat choice.

Others to look at are:
Locator by Process Type
Whitney by Hoefler and Frere Jones
All of Lucas de Groot's products
All of Dalton Maag's products
Subtil- probably unreleased, but you could enquire about it

Hope I helped,

Mike Diaz :-)

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

PS... You can download a free trial of AXIS from TypeProject.


Use Google Language Tools to help you navigate the site.

Mikey :-)

J Weltin's picture

Sorry for self-promoting, but you might want to check Agilita. It even comes with two sets of arrows for each weight.

millamu's picture

Thank you all, for good tips, advice, and for taking the time to help!
I´m very grateful, I´ve received some really good tips here, I especially
found the Sansa typeface quite suiteble for my project, thanks Renko! And the
AXIS is great too,it was almost exciting to download it from a japanese web-site,
hehe thank god for google translate!

I also like the softness and friendlyness in Chevin, but I´m not quite sure, maybe its too friendly, the Sansa has a freindly apperance, but it gives me more the feeling of representing something professional, in control and «modern»/new. A hospital that offers the best and newes form of treatment using new technology, and that is well organized. The AXIS might be a bit more time-less than Sansa, but with many of the same qualities...

millamu's picture

And it was a good idea to do a warp perspective on a text block, to check legibility and readability, very functional:)


dberlow's picture

Skia, is a bit friendlier, and Optima is a traditional choice for this application.



ryanholmes's picture

Honestly now--how many MORE humanist sans does the world need? Have we not reached the saturation point? Is there some design application unknown to me where Frutiger or Meta or Interstate or Syntax et al. could NOT get the job done?

I don't dispute that many of these fonts are nice, but are they necessary? And are they all that creative? Or has this branch of typography plateaued into the purely derivative and repetitive?

The new sans Axis looks nice, I hope he sells a million licenses.

Stephen Coles's picture

> Or has this branch of typography plateaued into the purely derivative and repetitive? The new sans Axis looks nice, I hope he sells a million licenses.

I think you answered your own question.

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Massimo is that you?

William Berkson's picture

There is something wonderful about Axis, but I can't figure out what it is. I guess that's a tribute.

Quincunx's picture

A bit less obvious, but I think Unger's Vesta will probably work for wayfinding.

writingdesigning's picture

Isn't Vesta the University of Reading house font?

I think there's an online case study of their signage which could be a useful visual reference if Vesta is an option here.

dan_reynolds's picture

>Isn’t Vesta the University of Reading house font?

Yes, along with Swift. But the new signs are all set in Arrival.

I second Stephen's mentioning of Vialog.

Quincunx's picture

Ah, I didn't know that Reading used Vesta. I knew it was being used somewhere, but not where. I like its contrast between thick and thins, which makes it very lively. More so than some of the other examples mentioned here.

typofoto's picture

Sorry to be late to the thread. I'm itching to use ff Milo and ff Zwo for wayfinding. I think they would both be very suitable. Good range of weights, nice, open shapes, good numerals, and compact.

dan_reynolds's picture

Reading doesn't use Vesta for signage, only for CI and general things. The University uses Arrival for all signs, at least all new signs. Older ones seem to be made in whatever fonts were at hand.

joeclark's picture

I really think you’re handling this in exactly the wrong way. You have to develop a wayfinding system first rather than picking a font first. And I really think you’re going by personal preferences, which are fine and dandy but irrelevant, rather than actual performance.

Joe Clark

writingdesigning's picture

"You have to develop a wayfinding system first.."

Sure. Which is what more than one post suggested earlier on.

After that the thread sort of shifted to something like: what's your favourite typeface that can be used for wayfinding projects? Which is fun too :)

Quincunx's picture

It didn't shift, actually. The starting question was: "I'm looking for a typeface that is suitable for a wayfinding-system for a hospital".

writingdesigning's picture

True. I meant shift in the sense that it wasn't any more about addressing a particular signage project but rather a broader context of typefaces for signage.

Jan Middendorp's picture

All of Lucas de Groot’s products

Not all of them; Punten Extremo or JesusLovesYou may make patients, or their relatives, feel uneasy. ;-)
But the text fonts are all very well suited for signage.
Both TheSans and Corpid now have semi-condensed versions in the making, which are both space-saving and very legible.
Also, they have weights that have been conceived for combinations of back-lit (lightboxes) and front-lit signage.

Quincunx's picture

Arun: Yeah, that seems to be true. Then again, maybe the topicstarter can make a list of the suggestions made here, and go from there. You need to know what exists before you can make a choice. ;)

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

jandorp> bwahahahahahahah!!! Yes, of course, JesusLovesYou and the others, would not look like something you would want to stare at while your twiddling your thumbs in the maternity waiting room.

Mikey :-)

ninja-2's picture

I have the same now: A hospital project and in germany also the "FF Info" is one of the favourite´s of german designer. When you are ready I loke to see your finished work so I can take advantage of your thoughts??

The image is UNIVERS 47 LT condensed

Andreas Stötzner's picture

If a smooth solution for both lettering and pictographic sorts is at stake, I allow myself to introduce the new Symbojet fonts.

Customization is possible.

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