Street Name Signs FAQ
Street Sign Design, Sign Sizes, Colors, Etc.
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions regarding street name signs:
What size letters should a street name sign have?
(MUTCD Section 2D.43 Street Name Signs, Paragraph 03)
According to the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), if a street name sign is used on a local road with speed limits of 25 MPH or less, then the upper-case letters should be at least 4 inches tall, and lower-case letters at least 3 inches tall.
SafetySign.com’s 6 inch tall signs use 4 inch upper-case and 3 inch lower-case letters.
For roads with speed limits less than 40 MPH, the MUTCD suggests text sizes of 6 inches for upper-case and 4.5 inches for lower-case letters. SafetySign.com uses 6 inch upper-case and 5 inch lower-case letter sizes for 9 inch tall street signs.
MUTCD Table 2D-2 outlines the recommended letter sizes for all street name signs.
Supplemental letters (like “E” or “Rd”) that tell you the type of street or section where you are located may have upper-case letters of 3 inches and lower-case letters that are 2.25 inches tall.
What size should my street name sign be?
Street name sign sizes vary in width, ranging from 18 to 48 inches. Generally the width of a sign correlates to the amount of characters that need to be displayed. The text of “Main St” can fit comfortably on an 18 inch wide street name sign; the text of “St. Christopher’s Ave” likely won’t fit and would need a wider sign.
The height of sign sizes depends on where the street name sign will be used.
For use on local roads that have speed limits of 25 MPH or less, 6 inch tall sign sizes are adequate. For roads with speed limits greater than 25 MPH, 9 inch tall signs are used.
These sign heights are based on the MUTCD standards for letter size. At faster driving speeds, letters need to be seen from farther away. Larger letters, which fit on taller signs, meet this need.
What colors can a street name sign be?
(MUTCD Section 2D.43 Street Name Signs, Paragraphs 17 and 18)
The only colors for street name signs that have been accepted in the MUTCD are:
Brown, Green, White, Blue
Regardless of the background color of the street name sign, the only acceptable color for the sign’s legend (and border, if applicable) is white. If white is used as the background color, then black should be used for the legend and applicable border.
SafetySign.com offers novelty street signs, for private use as gifts or on property, with red and black background colors. These are not MUTCD compliant.
Street Sign Design – Borders, Images, and More
Street Name Sign Borders
Street name signs do not have to have a border according to MUTCD Section 2D.43 Street Name Signs, Paragraph 14. Most extruded blade street name signs will not have a border. If a border is shown, then it should contrast the background color.
Street Sign Letters and Characters
Street name signs should not have any punctuation (MUTCD Section 2A.13 Word Messages, Paragraphs 01 and 04) unless it is necessary to avoid confusion. Upper and lower case letters shall be used, as this style can be recognized from further away than the use of all upper-case letters (MUTCD Section 2A.13 Word Messages, Paragraph 11).
Prefix and Suffix Use
In MUTCD Section 2D.43 Street Name Signs, Paragraphs 03 and 09, supplementary text (a prefix and suffix) may be included. This must be in smaller lettering, using upper and lower-case letters. MUTCD Table 1A.15 displays conventional abbreviations used as a prefix or suffix.
Images (pictographs) are allowed to be used on street name signs. Images commonly seen on these signs are official community seals or icons denoting a local point of interest. Following MUTCD Section 2D.43 Street Name Signs, Paragraph 12, images cannot exceed the size of an upper-case letter on the primary sign legend.
As an official traffic sign, street name signs must follow MUTCD Section 2A.07 Retroreflectivity and Illumination and Section 2D.43 Street Name Signs, Paragraph 14. These standards state that signs must be reflective or illuminated, day and night. SafetySign.com street name signs are available in three types of retroreflective sheeting: Engineering Grade, High Intensity Prismatic, and Diamond Grade. Learn more about our retroreflective sheeting here.
To learn more about Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, visit mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov.
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