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Photo Courtesy of Clear Sign & Design
Photo Courtesy of Clear Sign & Design

Technical Issues

Federally mandated technical manuals, regulations and policies can impact your ability to do business. The International Sign Association often has a seat at the table to help.

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How is the MUTCD Related to the Sign & Graphics Industry?

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) has been developed and administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) since 1971. It is a compilation of national standards for all traffic control devices, including highway signs.

With respect to signs, the MUTCD addresses application/selection, design, installation, operation, and maintenance. While there are many differences between highway signs and business signs, the MUTCD contains basic principles of effective visibility that can apply to business signs.

For example, the MUTCD identifies the five basic principles of traffic control devices, and each of these basic principles are relevant for business signs as well:

  1. Fulfill a need
  2. Command attention
  3. Convey a clear, simple meaning
  4. Command respect from road users
  5. Give adequate time for proper response

All of these principles come into play when making highway (and business) signs effectively visible and readable.

In addition, the MUTCD covers public wayfinding and placemaking signage, which affects many sign designers in the industry.

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Kenny Peskin
Director, Industry Programs