The History of the Business Sign

April 30, 2018 4:19 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The business sign is one of the most ancient and enduring forms of advertising. Shops have been placing signs over their doors or outside their facilities for thousands of years. From the stonework of ancient times to today’s flashing LED signage, signs remain one of the best, most timeless ways of establishing a business and brand identity.

Here’s some brief information about the history of the business sign from a company providing business and ADA signs in Glendale, CA.

Going way back

Of course, it is impossible to say for sure when the first signs were made for businesses. Signage has been used by people just about as long as we have been writing anything and recording our histories. As soon as the written language was developed, people began using signage for wayfinding purposes.

As time went on, travelers began to rely on signage to guide their way, whether it be on building fronts or on markers in rural, rarely used roadways and paths.

As our technologies and communications advanced over the years, so too did the types of signage most frequently used by businesses. Once electricity became ubiquitous in the Western world, the signage industry really began to take off as people no longer had to rely on skilled woodworkers, masons or blacksmiths to create their signage—there were much more accessible options available.

Modern electric signage

The LED and other forms of lit-up signage you often see at businesses today directly evolved from the electric light signs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At the time, there were only low-powered incandescent bulbs, but venues quickly figured out the value of having signs that lit up and blinked. Passersby were more likely to notice those types of signage, and thus more likely to enter into a business for the first time. The famous Moulin Rouge cabaret in Paris was one of the first noteworthy businesses to make significant, creative use of lighting in signs.

Over the years since these signs first became popular, there have been numerous technological innovations, including smaller and brighter bulbs, LED technology, digital signage, neon and much more. The development of neon signs in particular was big for the signage industry, as it offered a form of permanence. While most businesses these days will opt for digital over neon just because of the environmental issues associated with neon signage, their influence was undeniably massive.

Today’s LED signage allows businesses to show off just about any kind of image, whether it’s a picture, video or text. Look at any picture or video of Times Square in New York, for example, and you’ll see massive digital signage displays in every direction.

The opportunities with digital are endless. Restaurants can show off actual images of their food. News tickers can include video of breaking news stories. Gas station managers can more quickly and easily update their prices.

For more information about the history of digital signage, contact Saxton Bronze Architectural Signage, a company providing business and ADA signs in Glendale, CA.

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