Interstate is based on the font colloquially known as Highway Gothic, the official typeface of the American Federal Highway Administration, designed by Ted Forbes in 1949. Forbes was an engineer not a typographer, and the letterforms in the original Highway Gothic typeface are quirky—the awkward and incongruous descender of the lowercase g is a good example. “It’s very American in that way—just smash it together and get it up there,” Frere-Jones has said of Highway Gothic. Interstate was carefully designed as homage to Highway Gothic, its naïveté intentional. Interstate has a familiar and recognizable feel, conveying the aesthetic of the American road and the excitement associated with the new interstate highway system of the Eisenhower era.
Gallery label from Standard Deviations, 2011.