The History of Commercial Signage

The History of Commercial Signage

May 2021

The History of Commercial Signage

In today’s day and age, commercial signs are everywhere. They’re plastered over buildings, set up along highways, and pretty much everywhere else you look. The video signs that you see in Time Square are even starting to venture out into new areas. But how did we get to this point? Where did these ads all come from? That’s why we’re here today. We are going to go over the long and complex history of commercial signage.

Where It All Began

For pretty much as long as signs have existed, they’ve been used to advertise businesses or products. Some of the earliest examples of signs were made all the way back in ancient Egyptian times. The ancient Greeks and Romans were the groups that started to popularize the idea. They would make signs with a logo to signify the goods sold at a particular store. This is actually where the red and white pole that you see outside of barbershops originated. By the 14th century, businesses were required to post signs outside in order to inform people what was waiting for them inside.

The Start of Advertising

It didn’t take long for people to realize that they could use those same signs to try to convince people to visit their establishment. By the 18th century, most businesses were using some form of signage to advertise their products and services. Innovation didn’t stop there, though. Movie theaters and casinos were the first businesses to use gas-powered lighting to illuminate their signs. With the invention of the lightbulb, even more companies started to embrace this idea. By the 1920s, people found a way to combine gas and electricity to make neon lights, which were highly sought after due to their ability to be formed into almost any shape imaginable. After WWII, plastic and fluorescent lighting opened up even more options for businesses, and the competitive nature of commercial signage became what it is today.

A Look Into the Future

It doesn’t seem like commercial signage usage will be slowing down anytime soon, so if you haven’t taken advantage of this type of advertising yet, now is the best time to do so. ACS is the best place to create your own outdoor business signage in Atlanta, Georgia. Which kind will you go with? Digital signs seem to be the latest idea that is taking off, but that doesn’t mean it’s the type that will work best for you. We have many signage options available, so make sure you take the time to look through them all. Now that you know the history of commercial signage, you should have a better idea of what direction to take for your own business.


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