[Tagging] custom road ref shields

johnw johnw at mac.com
Sat Nov 29 00:59:52 UTC 2014

> On Nov 29, 2014, at 4:26 AM, Paul Johnson <baloo at ursamundi.org> wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 27, 2014 at 10:11 PM, johnw <johnw at mac.com <mailto:johnw at mac.com>> wrote:
> That looks really good. Some graphic designers need to remake the shields for icon size (bigger lettering, details ignored), but the system of putting on the roads looks great. 
> amItheOnlyOneHere.png that thinks, in the vast majority of cases, using the sign type you'd actually see on the highway is useful, particularly for unusual cases?  

I’m commenting on the legibility of those icons.

When you think of any professional “logo” you see, there are at least 3 different versions of them, and sometimes over 20 or 30, because of the job of the logo to be done at it’s printed size and scale is to be legible and recognizable. 

Taking a logo made for something the size of a cereal box, and blowing it up to something the size of a billboard would look horrible, and shrinking it down to a business card, or, in this case, an icon, is equally as horrible.  I’m not talking pixelation, I’m talking that the design itself changes - larger or bolder lettering, larger or thinner lining, different spacing - all of it changes as you go up or down, especially down in size. 

And with the current implementation of OSM, pixelation is also a serious issue as well. 

The goal is to make your brain think it is the same by increasing legibility by reducing detail in a way that doesn’t remove your ability to recognize it immediately. 

https://foliovision.com/images/2009/01/resize-article-1.jpg <https://foliovision.com/images/2009/01/resize-article-1.jpg>

In this example, look at the detail of the house. there is so much detail on the house that it is a hindrance when scaled down. The other icon is drawn for the size, and details are omitted, but clearly makes it easier to recognize it as “that house”.  

Almost every single “icon” ever made is is purpose-built for the job of being an icon. Shrinking signage down is still recognizable, but is not a good icon. That’s why most shields are simple shapes with strong border lines.

Someone is making generic highway makers on wikipedia already, as at 20px the county names are illegible distractions. The borders are thicker as well, so they show properly at 20px. 

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CR_21C_jct_wide.svg <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CR_21C_jct_wide.svg>  would be a better choice of icons than the “columbia 21C county” currently in Phil’s test.

But since we’re puling the icons from wikipedia (or somewhere similar), and they are straight scale-downs of the larger road signs, there isn’t much we can do about it, unless someone decides to draw up new icons for the hard-to-read ones, such as the completely illegible Taconic State Parkway icon - Is it the bronx river parkway, the Sprain River parkway or what? they al have the same tiny, unreadable crap icon at that level. 

With such unusually wordy signs, Acronyms might have to be used.

Phil’s implementation of putting the icons on the road looks great. Just bringing to people’s attention that icons eventually need to be custom made for this job - as legibility is paramount. 


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