Interwest Safety Supply, LLC

A railroad crossing and stop sign, two signs that have two specific road sign shapes and colors

Getting to Know Construction & Traffic Signs

We see them everywhere and every day, but what do the signs on our roads mean? From construction traffic signs to basic travel and highway signs, symbols and colors can instantly communicate vital information efficiently and effectively. When it comes to road sign shapes and colors, this kind of communication is essential on our roadways.

Road Sign Shapes and Colors


A yellow road sign meaning caution ahead as motorists take winding turns through a valley with a mountain in the background

When it comes to a yellow road sign’s meaning, the color signifies a warning. These traffic signs stand for slowing down, driving with caution, pedestrian crossings, or general warnings about hazards or possible hazards on the road or close by. Although school zones can have a yellow-green backdrop, they tend to fall under this color category. These signs can be circular, pentagonal, or in the shape of a pennant (an isosceles triangle pointing to the right) or diamond for school zones.


Red signs are limited to stop, yield, or prohibited. Actions such as “do not enter” or anything that can cause immediate consequence or harm fall within this color category. When it comes to their shapes, an octagon is strictly for stop signs and upside-down triangles are for yield signs.


Construction workers use orange signs strictly in work zones for warning and guidance, and they’re often in a diamond shape. These signs are used to alert of possible dangers ahead due to construction and road maintenance. An orange sign will signal you to reduce your speed on the roads, keeping your eyes open for workers, equipment, hazards, and anyone – or anything – that may be directing traffic from the usual traffic pattern.

Black and White

These types of signs indicate posted regulations (e.g. speed limits) and look like black lettering on a white background in a vertical rectangle. Regulatory signs inform drivers of what they can and can’t do on the road. While some show a maximum and minimum speed limit for all types of vehicles on freeways, they can also inform drivers of limited-access highways. When it comes to construction and maintenance zones, posted speeds legally reduce the speed limit on that portion of the highway. You can also find these signs at railroad crossings; when located in these areas, you’ll find the colors in a criss-cross shape forming an ‘X’.


Green shows permitted traffic movements or directional guidance in a horizontal, rectangular shape. They tell you where you are, which way to go (e.g. interstate exit signs), and the distance to specific destinations.


What does a blue traffic sign mean? Well, this color represents guide signs but with a little more detail. These signs tell you about road-user services along the roadways such as rest areas, hospitals, gas stations, and lodging. Blue also signifies tourist information and evacuation routes. These sign shapes can vary from a pentagon or a horizontal rectangle to a square or circle, depending on the region/area.


Brown signs are also another type of sign for tourists, but more specifically, for guidance to sites of public recreation or cultural interest, such as national parks, and are often in a trapezoid or rectangular shape.

Interwest Safety Supply

A construction site set up with orange cones, a stoplight, and other construction traffic signs to help inform drivers.

At Interwest Safety Supply, we are a Certified 3M Sign Fabricator, making each of our signs fully warranted, top-of-the-line products. Founded in 1977, Interwest has manufactured highway construction and roadway signs and has distributed a wide variety of other traffic safety supplies and equipment used to signal, protect, delineate, notify, and guide pedestrians and vehicles safely through roadways and work zones. Contact us today for more information on how we can better equip the projects with construction & traffic signs in your community.

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