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

Go west! New Ringways pages are here

A new set of Ringways pages are now online, looking at unbuilt motorways and road projects west of London.

No smoke without ire

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone has just expanded to cover the whole inner city, and across the UK, other cities are implementing their own Clean Air Zones. Is this the future?

Devon help us

Road signs are colour coded for different types of road, but in Devon there are more colours than anywhere else. What do Devon's colourful signs mean?

Have you seen...

Road signs

A field guide to the UK's road signs, explaining the colours, shapes, symbols and everything else you need to know to avoid putting a foot (or a wheel) wrong.