EINA Centre Universitari de Disseny i Art de Barcelona. Attached to the UAB

Blog d’EINA. Centre Universitari de Disseny i Art de Barcelona. Attached to the UAB

31 January 2020

Research and design applied to the road surface

On 5 September, Elena Bartomeu, design researcher and teacher at EINA, presented research that questions the validity of road signposting regulations. The research was published at the 2019 Gràfica Symposium and was conducted in collaboration with Sofia Soldevila and Artur Rivera, students on the Ergonomics, Perception and Usability subject.

As part of the learning, the conditions were created to measure whether it was the reading direction or the reading time that was more important with written markings on the road surface. According to current regulations (BOE Official State Gazette 1986), the reading time determines the direction. This leads to confusion among many conductors who, instead of reading TARRA-GONA on road surface markings, read GONA-TARRA. Through a series of typographic interventions and two rounds of tests, it was shown that no inversion of the syllables should be made, as set out by the Ministry of Public Works. Even with fractions of tenths of a second, people maintain the reading direction. This fact points to the most important factor in reading being what is learned, and therefore, defined at a cultural level.

The presentation was well received by the community of researchers and designers, who tabled other problematic issues in relation to readability and road signposting. Also valued positively was the involvement of bachelor’s degree students in conducting research that is relevant to society, and the need to maintain this type of project in subjects such as Research in Design, recently added to the syllabus of the EINA Bachelor’s Degree in Design.

You can view the initial research in poster format in the EINA Digital Depository.


Bartomeu, E., Rivera, A., Soldevila, S. (2019, September). TARRA-GONA. Direcció de lectura vs. temps de lectura a la carretera. Presented at the poster session at the 2019 Grafica Symposium. Barcelona, Spain.

Research and design applied to the road surface - Bartomeu, E., Rivera, A., Soldevila, S.
© Bartomeu, E., Rivera, A., Soldevila, S.
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