Traffic Sign Colors And Meanings – Municipal Supply & Sign Co.
Happy July 4th Holiday! Please note that we will be closed from Friday July 3 through Monday July 13.
The full team will be back on Monday July 13 to satisfy your needs!

Traffic Sign Colors And Meanings

Traffic Sign Colors And Meanings

Traffic signage around the world follows a certain pattern of colors that have become familiar in various contexts. If we see a “Do Not Enter” sign that features white lettering on a red background, we automatically associate it with a red traffic light instructing drivers to stop. These color connotations make more sense to us now than they did when they were introduced in the 19th century.

Historical Background Of Traffic Sign Colors

The earliest use of different colors for traffic control purposes featured a non-electric system installed for the benefit of train conductors and pedestrians who shared the busy roads of London in 1868. Back then, red meant stop but green meant caution. The red, yellow, and green traffic light scheme we use to this day was first installed in Detroit in the year 1920.

Traffic Signs

The three colors used in traffic lights have inspired the design of road signs for decades, but transportation engineers also take into account other visual factors. The message conveyed by traffic signs needs to be delivered in a straightforward and unambiguous manner, hence making proper color selection vital.

Use Of Traffic Signs

Thanks to international standards that were largely implemented during the 21st century, traffic signs now conform to certain shapes, colors, and lettering styles that make it easier for drivers to travel across land borders. The most uniformity in this regard can be observed in the European Union, but you can also drive from Canada down to the United States and Mexico and appreciate these signage standards.

Traffic Sign Colors

The aforementioned international standards for traffic control signs include seven colors. The list below explains provides a brief description:


Stop and do not proceed are the universal meanings of this color. Red can also be used to prohibit foot traffic or entry.


This color is for caution, but it is also very effective in getting the attention of both drivers and pedestrians. General warnings are very effective when they feature yellow backgrounds.


We all know that green means go. This is a very positive sign that is still used for directional highway signage.


Black on white is used to denote lawful regulations. Speed limits are examples of jurisdictional traffic rules, but you can also issue orders to slow down or direct traffic.


In North America, brown signs tend to guide drivers to landmarks, national parks, and other points of interest. This color can also be used for street names and plaques within gated communities.


General information that drivers and pedestrians may find useful can be clearly conveyed against a blue background. This color can work wonders inside parks, shopping centers, and neighborhoods.


It is very important to pay attention to signs that feature orange backgrounds. This is the international color of construction, and it alerts everyone about potential hazards such as workers, materials, and heavy machinery operating on the road.

Learn More About Regulatory Signs From Municipal Supply And Sign

Municipal Supply and Sign is ready to provide the material you need for road or crossing signs. We make outdoor areas safer with the proper material, so you can enjoy public recreation.

Should you have any questions about our products or the fabrication process, please get in touch with our office. At the Municipal Supply & Signs Company, we have been providing traffic signs to local governments, construction companies, and property managers for decades.

Older Post Newer Post

  • Rafael on

    Excellent information

Leave a comment