Finding a research-led design solution for Ireland’s dual-language road signs - a brief design journey.
I first created many sketch sign layouts using commonly used typefaces which fitted the criteria of high x-height and suitability for signs. These rough tests were created to explore colour differentiation and compare this with other ways of differentiating the languages including weight difference, uppercase and italics.
Bilingual ‘time delay’…
Wales’ bilingual solution takes longer to read than a one-language sign (Rutley 1972). This is not surprising, because increased information on a sign increases comprehension time. And the time is increased further, especially for English-speaking drivers, when Welsh is placed above English.
It does suggest the importance of differentiating our Irish place names from the English. In view of the status of the Irish language, how is a level of differentiation best achieved, whilst preserving ‘equal prominence’?