Laura Loves “Polskie Pismo Drogowe”

Last month I visited Warsaw, and Poland, for the first time. I was very excited and ready to feel inspired and surprised by its beauty and also by its letters, as there is no city without them. My love at first sight came from the typeface used in the road signs, known there as “Polskie Pismo Drogowe”. Oh my! so welcoming 😉





In 1975, the Ministry of Transport made the decision to create and unify the signage on the roads in Poland. I was surprised when I learnt that this decision was in fact announced 15 years earlier, in 1960, but only put into effect in April 1975. The scale of the entire project was gigantic for such a short time, a huge challenge for the designer Marek Sigmund, who was in charge of creating such an ambitious and functional concept for a typeface, the relative pictograms system and the manual for the standardization throughout the country.

Actual sign in Poland. Photo: courtesy of Marian Misiak

Drogowskaz (Roadsign in Polish) is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed without optical compensations. It uses a single-story lowercase “a” and a very idiosyncratic letter “e” and the diacritics! The open space between letters is also a main feature of the signs, that might complicate the legibility, but it gives a lot of its charm.

Marek Sigmund's Manual

Marek Sigmund's Manual

Marek Sigmund’s Manual. Photos: courtesy of Marian Misiak

Thanks to Ewa Satalecka for responding to my enthusiasm and getting me in touch with Marian Misiak who kindly shared his knowledge and images on the subject.

Further reading:
Marian Misiak “Polskie Pismo”. 2d3d Magazine, nr 43/2012.

Other links:
“Research and discovery – an exploration of Polish type design heritage from the Communist era”. Conference by Marian Misiak at Typo Berlin 2013
Polskie liternictwo znaków drogowych – Wikipedia, wolna encyklopedia
Drogowskaz Classic

What are your beloved letter related items of note? Post on Instagram or tweet at us @alphabettes_org with the hashtag #letterlove.