Our traffic lights use nothing but color to convey information. A trio of South Korean designers aim to fix that by augmenting the standard traffic light with shapes.

Good design, by degrading gracefully, is able to withstand unfavorable circumstances. A particularly well-crafted logo, for instance, will remain recognizable even if you subtract color, shading, and context: think Apple, think Nike, think BMW.

The same cannot be said of traffic lights, which use identical circles to direct cars to stop or go. Not a trivial matter when you consider that a moving car in the wrong place is a potentially lethal projectile—and that 8% of Caucasian males carry the gene for red-green color blindedness, which means that they cannot tell apart the colors of stop and go.


To augment standard traffic lights which carry nothing but spatial information for the color blind driver, designers Ji-youn Kim, Soon-young Yang, and Hwan-ju Jeon have proposed the Uni-Signal, a traffic light which combines color and positioning with shapes to indicate stop and go. It’s clever, it’s trivial to implement, and it’s a boon not only to the colorblind but also to the distracted.

Let’s hope it spreads fairly quickly.


Source: Yanko Design