The History Of Signs!

Signage can be defined as any kind of visual graphics created to display information to a particular audience. Signs have been around, since, the Paleolithic Era a.k.a the cave man era, which dates back to 18,000 B.C. The history of signs began with symbolic expression through paintings on cave walls that told a story (as shown below). These are primarily thought to be ritualistic in nature, but, they illustrate how early symbolism became important not only for artistic expression, but, for human communication. delete

Modern visual signs, as we know of today, started around the time of the Greek, Roman and Egyptian cities, dating from about 3000 B.C. and beyond. Most of these signs were made of stone or terra cotta with the use of imagery more than text, since, many people were illiterate, during, that time. Most of the signs were made through carvings or paintings on the interior and exterior walls of buildings.

delete2 Fast-forwarding through history, after the Dark Ages, the increase in trade, commerce and wealth encouraged increasingly elaborate and artistic forms of trade signs. The use of carvings, bright paint, ornamental iron and even gilding encouraged competition between merchants to see who could create the most elaborate signs. delete Did You Know?  In the early 1700’s the very first sign regulations were put in place to protect the public from large signs hanging too far into the narrow streets. Going into the mid-1800’s, there could be seen, the use of gas lighted signs, then the invention of the electric bulb, created a whole new technology in signage (as shown below).The invention of the neon tube, followed the invention of the light bulb. This neon tube technology could bend into countless shapes and came in many colors. Electronic illuminated signs have been in the American industry ever since, going into the early 1900s and beyond. delete5 The improvement of plastics, before and after World War II, expanded its usage for advertising signs, making it easy to create both unique and mass-produced products. Changeable copy signs were another useful advertising and marketing creation that has expanded into the use of LED’s and programmable messages used widely today. IMAG0085 One thing is clear. The use of symbols in daily human life is as strong now as it was so many generations ago. Symbolism transcends cultural boundaries, encourages communication and cooperation, and will continue to evolve along with us.

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