LICENSE PLATE FONTS OF AUSTRALIA

SAA Series B  |  1980, designer unknown, digitized by URW staff, commercial.

SAA Series 'B' font specimen (full alphabet)

Font family contains: Six all-caps weights in increasing widths from Series A through Series F, plus a Series EM which includes a lowercase. Series B (shown above) is most similar to Victoria’s number plates in Australia, though Victoria’s font is somewhat lighter in weight.

About this typeface: The SAA Series fonts are the most easily available commercial clone of the U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s FHWA Series of fonts mandated in 1945 for use on American highway signage. Developed with visibility at a distance and at high speed in mind, the font series has also been adopted by a number of other countries for roadway sign use as well, including Australia and New Zealand.

As suggested in our look at SAA Series “A” — which is very close in design to the embossed fonts seen on many American license plates — it’s logical to suppose the narrowest FHWA Series A font may have been adopted by producers of American license plates because its legibility requirements are basically the same as for highway signs. Similarly, with the FHWA Series of fonts in prevalent use on highway signs in Australia, it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest Series B was adopted by Victoria as a font closely compatible with the needs of number plates when it switched to reflective plates in 1977. Series B, which is less narrow than Series A, works better for Australian plates, since they reserve more horizontal space for the registration numbers than American plates. Note, though, that Victoria’s number plate font based on Series B is less bold.

For those interested in legibility studies, the typeface Clearview, recently developed as a better, more highly legible alternative to the FHWA Series, may also be of interest.

For further specimens or to buy this font:

URW++ (original foundry)
Bitstream / Myfonts.com
FontShop
Monotype / Fonts.com

We do not sell fonts ourselves or field questions about them.

We recommend Myfonts.com as the most user-friendly of all font sites on the web, for its overall combination of quick-loading pages, faster and more tailored font-searching, and more extensive and flexible font specimen displays. (Note: We have no relationship with Myfonts.com except as a satisfied user/ customer.)

License Plate Fonts of the Western World    Page:  Intro  |  North America (1)  |  North America (2)  |  North America (3)  |  North America (4)  |  North America (5)  |  North America (6)  |  Europe (1)  |  Europe (2)  |  Australia & New Zealand