Interstate is a neo-grotesque sans-serif typeface designed by Tobias Frere-Jones in the period 1993–1999, and licensed by Font Bureau. The typeface is closely related to the FHWA Series fonts, a signage alphabet drawn for the United States Federal Highway Administration in 1949.
Frere-Jones' Interstate face, while optimal for signage, has refinements making it suitable for text setting in print and on-screen, and gained popularity as such in the 90s. Due to its wide spacing it is best suited for display usage in print, but Frere-Jones later designed another signage typeface, Whitney, published by Hoefler & Frere-Jones, which bears a resemblance to its ancestor while being less flamboyant and more economical for general print usage, in body copy or headlines.
The terminals of ascending and descending strokes are cut at an angle to the stroke (see lowercase t, and l), and on curved strokes (see lowercase e and s), terminals are drawn at a 90° angle to the stroke, positioning them at an angle to the baseline. Counters are open, even in the bold and bold condensed weights, further contributing to legibility.
The font is used by a number of large organisations in their logotype and branding materials. Notable examples include Sainsbury's Supermarkets, recent signage for Southwest Airlines, Invesco Perpetual, UK rail company c2c, and Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College and Cognizant Technology Solutions.
In May 2008 Ernst & Young - one of the largest professional services firms in the world - adopted the use of Interstate in marketing materials and reports as part of a new global visual identity.