Jul 18, 2019

Street signs, road signs, all around the town. Everywhere, in fact.  On the lonely stretch of highway between Coldfoot and Fairbanks, Alaska, a sign lets drivers know it’s NEXT SERVICES 240 MILES.  On some Canadian roads that distance is considerably longer, and yet there the signs are. Road signs are a prominent fact of modern life. The street signs list is, to be sure, a long one. Nevertheless, we’re rarely surprised or confused by street signs. There are, of course, reasons why we’re not.

In the developed countries the standardization of road signs is very detailed and advanced. We don’t just make signs up on the fly.


The Manual Of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) spells out the American standards for street signs.  Categories, types, designs, and specifications. The global competitor standard is the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.  That’s why road signs in many foreign countries look different from ours. Quite a few European, Asian, and African nations are adopting the Vienna convention. Perhaps not coincidentally, none of those countries has put people on the moon.

The MUTCD standards are, above all, detailed and specfic. As a street signs list, it’s pretty inflexible. That’s the point of it. As drivers gain experience, the time they require to read standardized signs shrinks. That’s because the shape, colors, and formats of a sign already tell them  what kind of message its sending.

The major categories of MUTCD signage are Regulatory, Warning, and Guide. Additionally, the standard defines minor categories for Hospitals, Schools, and Toll Roads. In our next post we’ll go into more detail about each of the major and lesser categories. Each of the majors has a great many defined types.


Accordingly, from the standpoint of signage design and manufacture, the MUTCD provides the blueprints. No wiggle room. We make them exactly as MUTCD says to make them, period.  There are, however, categories of street signs that are either not covered by MUTCD. Others, moreover,  are “grandfathered” because they’re older than MUTCD. States and localities have some freedom of design for certain types of road signage. Localities, in particular, are in many cases free to label their streets as they wish. In these cases, design becomes an  issue. Towns and cities,after all,  want style as well as functionality. That’s why they call upon South Florida signage companies with artistry as well as technical prowess.

Whatever a buyer’s street signs list includes, our advice is to YIELD to experience and call a design/manufacturing/installation firm with a track record.


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