Back in the old days, there is no specific color or shape attached to the stop sign, and drivers got confused by it very often. So in 1922, the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) congregated and came up with a standard design, which is an octagon. This shape is unique and can be recognized easily so that drivers can pick up the message. At that time the officials chose yellow and black to be the design of the stop sign, thinking the colors would grab drivers' attention.
However, yellow wasn't the first choice. The officials wanted to choose red since it had already been the color for electric traffic lights. But back then there was no red dye that could resist the passing of time and fading away.
Fade-resistant porcelain enamel was first introduced in sign-making in 1954, after which the fading of the red color was no longer a problem. And after the declaration of the Joint Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, stop signs are designed to be red with white letters.
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