Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why is a stop sign red? A lot of people would say because red means stop or because it is noticeable. Well, there are a lot of noticeable colors we could use. (White, Yellow, Orange, etc.) Before I could drive I heard the saying "Seeing Red" which meant enraged and usually that person was dangerous when he/she was seeing red. Almost like there was no STOPPING them. So why is it red? Why does red mean stop? Who told us that? Well, it wasn't always red! In 1935 traffic engineers created the first uniform standards for road signage. "It was 166 pages long and recommended a yellow stop sign with black letters." - New York Times, December 2011. One of the things they had to get away from was that the stop signs looked like yellow warning signs. Also by changing it to red in 1954 made it consistent with the red signal lights. 

Here is the kicker. Why octagon? Why not square? They needed a shape that would be recognizable as a stop sign so it couldn't resemble another sign. Several countries have actually adopted the stop sign with the red and white. Japan uses a triangle(because they want to be different) but still use red and white. Now when you see an octagon sign you should be thinking Stop!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post. Is there any other country that doesn't use red to indicated "stop?" What shape are those signs?

    When posting, please LOOK at your post. Notice how hard your highlighted text is to read. You would not normally design your text to be unreadable. Remember, everyone, this is a typography course and the bottom line is that text must be legible and readable. (And then well-designed.)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.