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Symbol Signs

Symbol signs are everywhere. They are essential for guiding and regulating our sense of direction in any given environment. Symbol signs are quite fascinating because they are made to be understood universally. It doesn’t matter if a person is Japanese, Jamaican, or even Russian; they will know when a sign indicates something like “this place has airplanes here” or “watch out for falling rocks that could potentially obliterate your car.” Symbol signs are used because they are the key to communicate to a large population without the restriction of spoken languages, yet they are simple things that we take for granted.

Symbols signs are usually simple in design (stereotypes, such as a stick figure, an abstracted vehicle or house, are often used because they are easily interpreted). Another important feature of a symbol sign is the color scheme. Red and white usually means to stop or forbidden zones. Green and white signs would have directions to certain locations along with the distance. Brown and whites are for parks, resorts, etc. Blue and white indicates rest stops such as fuel stations, food courts, lodging, etc. White with black/red is for regulations like parking or speed. Yellow with black signs are warning signs and orange with black signs are usually seen as construction warnings. These color schemes are universal in North America, Australia, and New Zealand (though they known to be used in other countries as well).

It is imperative for the features on a sign to be straightforward so that everyone can understand. An arrow is a simple shape that can easily be read as “go this way.” Anything with the colors red, orange or yellow can be interpreted as some sort of warning. A silhouette of a person, animal or vehicle paired with a warning color will most likely signify “look out for these things they might be crossing the streets and if you are going too fast in your car you might hit them.”
School crossing sign, with familiar yellow and black theme.
Some dude messing with a pile of dirt… must be a construction sign.
Ah… the rest stop must be near…

One Comment

  1. ashby wrote:

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    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Permalink