Road signs

Helping you anticipate hazards, understand rules and find your way on unfamiliar streets, the UK's system of road signs are such a familiar part of the landscape that they can sometimes go unnoticed.

All of them conform to a system of colour conventions, shapes and styles, which is often overlooked. It's one of the most incredible works of graphic design of the twentieth century: everything about a road sign, from its shape to its colour, layout, symbols and wording, conveys useful information, and all without obscuring the basic message. But if you understand the system, you need never be confused again.

In this field guide to the UK's road signs, we'll go through colours, shapes, symbols and everything else you need to know to make the most of the information that's out there, and avoid putting a foot (or a wheel) wrong.

The shape of each road sign tells you something about its purpose.

The ten colours used on road signs all have meanings, depending on their context.

The collection of standard symbols and pictograms that make signs quicker and easier to read.

Still to come

More pages on the UK's system of road signs are still on the way, including:

  • Understanding direction signs
  • Understanding regulatory signs
  • Understanding parking, stopping and loading signs
  • Understanding road markings
  • Understanding electronic signals
  • Historic road signs
Road signs

What's new

Sorry, wrong number

Road numbering is a system with clear rules. What happens when the people responsible for numbering roads don't follow them?

We need to talk about Wisley

National Highways are spending a third of a billion pounds rebuilding one of the most congested junctions on the M25. Is it money well spent?

Oxford's Ground Zero

Oxford's Zero Emission Zone is just a trial, but transport policy in Oxford has become the catalyst for pitched battles and drawn in protestors from across the UK. What's happening to this genteel university town?

Share this page

Have you seen...

M1 under construction

Pictures taken as the first section of the M1 was being built in 1958-9, with all its unique architecture still under construction.

About this page

Published

Last updated