B612 Polarsys font

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Different internal studies performed on previous Airbus aircraft concluded that display enhancement could be done in terms of legibility and reading comfort. Also, due to the use of several different fonts on the different interfaces, the cockpit homogeneity could be improved.
In the frame of an R&T program, Airbus Human Factors conducted a study for the development of a font that would meet the two above-mentioned criteria.
Some preliminary studies were performed:
- A state of the art of reading and the effects of different variables such as the position and orientation of screens, the lighting, the size and the form of a character, etc.
- A technical analysis of the fonts in literature and of those used in an A380 aircraft
- A need analysis taking into account the different pilot tasks (via simulator sessions and commercial flights)
Recommendations were issued for the design and different typographic technics were explored.
A first prototype was built and tested in laboratory and then, iteratively modified. Finally, the font was tested on a more realistic mockup.
Once considered mature enough, Airbus industrialized this prototype, adding variants (italic, bold, etc.) and different tables of characters.
A last validation on a real aircraft simulator was performed with end users. The results are really satisfactory: legibility and comfort of this new font are increased.
Since 2013, this font is used by HMI designers in Airbus R&T and also by other entities.

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