Myriad Semibold Condensed  |  1992, Robert Slimbach and Carol Twombly, commercial.

Myriad Semibold Condensed font specimen (full alphabet)

Font family contains: 40 styles, grouped in 4 sub-families by width, with 10 styles each: Regular-width family, Semi-Condensed, Condensed, and Semi-Extended. Glyph coverage includes Greek, Cyrillic, and Central European character sets.

About this typeface: Until 2002, Norway used a font for its number plates (that’s still used on highway signage) called Trafikkalfabetet (click on the green “Aa” icon to see typeface sample), which is reminiscent of the FHWA Series of fonts used on U.S. interstate highway signs, but better designed. Then they decided to switch to a more squarish techno font, which was designed by the factory producing the plates. However, while futuristic in appearance, it caused problems for toll-road and police OCR cameras. So in 2006 they changed to Adobe’s Myriad typeface or one closely derived from it.

See these before/after pictures for comparisons of the two older alphabets and the newer one, and a discussion in Norwegian. Since the English summary provided at the bottom of the web page is very brief with little detail, it’s not completely clear if the font in use since 2006 is actual Adobe Myriad or instead a derived variant thereof, though the English summary seems to state the latter. Photos of Norwegian plates we have seen at collectors’ sites do not reveal any obvious differences we have been able to detect offhand, however collectors’ samples seem scarce. Whether any characters were changed to fit any idiosyncrasies required for making plates or to fit the desires of motor vehicle officials is the question. Without more sample characters to go by, it’s hard to say.

Much of the Myriad OpenType Pro family is bundled free with certain Adobe Creative Suite applications (or used to be). If you’ve purchased one of these applicatiions, check your hard drive or the install CD first before buying Myriad elsewhere.

Otherwise, for further specimens or to buy this font:

Adobe (original foundry)
Monotype /
Bitstream /

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