Official Sign Colors – What Colors Signify In Signage

Official Sign Colors – What Colors Signify In Signage

You may know that red is stop, green is go and yellow is proceed with caution.  But did you also know that official signs are always specific colors.  Consciously or subconsciously, we recognize that yellow means caution and red means warning.   If you understand the colors and how they are used in official government and municipal signs, you can determine what these color schemes may do when used in your signage program.

Color is always an important component of branding.  That’s why large companies are so particular about their image and use of their logo and colors.  Most companies will identify their brand color with a PMS (Pantone Matching System) shade.  This way, their color will be consistently the same shade, regardless of the media.

Here are the official colors that are used in signs across the United States:

Red – Used for STOP signs and YIELD signs, multiway supplemental plates, DO NOT ENTER and WRONG WAY signs, for legend symbols on some regulatory signs, and as part of interstate and some state route markers.

Fluorescent Pink – used as background color for incident sign management signs.

Coral- reserved for later use.

Orange – temporary traffic control signage.Yellow – background color for warning signs (except temporary signs) and school signs.

Fluorescent Yellow/Green – used as background color for pedestrian, bicycle and school warning signs.Green -used as background color for guide and information signs, and for legend on permissive regulation and parking signs

Light Blue – reserved for future use.Blue – used as background color for traveler services, information signs, emergency evacuation route signs, and as part of interstate and some state route markers

Purple- reserved for future use.

Brown – used as background color for guide and information signs related to points of recreation or cultural interest.

Black – used as background color for ONE WAY, night speed limit and truck regulatory signs, and also as legend color on signs with white, yellow, orange, flourescent pink, and flourescent yellow-green backgrounds.

White – used as background color for most regulatory signs and some route markers as legend color on signs with red, green, blue, brown and black backgrounds.

How do  you use colors to identify your brand?  Are you consistent with using the same color in all of your materials?

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