Advertising Signs : Remarkably Vintage Replicas are Making a Comeback

Advertising signs, part of human civilisation for centuries, and their evolution is a fascinating journey. These signs played an integral role in promoting products and services, and their design changes with the times, reflecting cultural, technological, and economic changes. Read our blog about Advertising Signs : Remarkably Vintage Replicas are making a Comeback, to learn more.

Early Advertising Signs

Early advertising signs presented as simple, hand-painted signs, hung outside shops or businesses. Often made of wood or metal they featured bold lettering and graphics. As most people remained illiterate at this time, the latter proved to be most popular! As printing technology advanced, and education spread to the masses, advertising signs became more sophisticated. Companies using lithography and other printing techniques created eye-catching signs to make themselves stand out from the crowd!

Stonemason Advertising Sign found in Pompeii

The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians used signage to draw customers to their stall, markets and trades. The majority of signs used wood, brick or stone, but for high end businesses, like luxury merchants or bathhouses, materials like marble, alabaster, copper and bronze became commonly used. However, the oldest form of advertising ever discovered, as highlighted in, is a papyrus, created by a fabric seller asking for help to locate his escaped slave!

After the fall of these civilisations, advertising seemed to be less prevalent, that is until Medieval times. Trade expeditions opened up a revived economic and cultural market. Tradesmen and merchants developed intricate designs and symbols to display on their signs. Often these trade marks remained unique to each business, suggesting a very early form of brand logos!

Legal Requirements

In the 17th Century, English laws required all tradesmen or craftsmen to display a sign for their business. Common symbols used included a key, for locksmiths and a Bible, for booksellers. The designs did vary considerably, with many displaying very elaborate interpretations! However, as designs became bolder and bigger, problems arose. With the signs weighing anything up to 100 lbs (depending on the material used to create them), tragic accidents began to occur. In the early 1700s, following several deaths from falling signs a new law passed in England forbade the hanging of signs across pedestrian walkways. Likewise in Europe restrictions ensured that the size and weight of the outdoor signs limited future accidents from happening.

Technological Advances

In 1840, P.T. Barnum’s Circus, in Chicago, Illinois, became the first business to use gas lighting to illuminate their sign. The effect mesmerised crowds and soon other businesses, throughout the U.S.A and Europe began experimenting with this idea. Pharmacies, banks and public buildings all used this method to highlight their advertising signs.

In the late 1800s, advertising signs exploded in popularity. This was the era of the “poster craze,” with companies using large, colourful posters to advertise everything from soap to bicycles. In the United States, companies like Coca-Cola and Kodak used advertising signs to build brand recognition and promote their products.

The invention of the light bulb at the end of the century added to the rise in popularity of advertising signs, with many stores using thousands of lights to draw customers through their doors! In the early 1900s, neon signs became popular, adding another new dimension to advertising. Neon signs, bright, colourful, and eye-catching, quickly became a symbol of modernity and progress. Used to advertise everything from restaurants to hotels, the bold designs on Neon signs made them instantly recognisable.

Post War

In the 1950s and 60s, advertising signs continued to evolve, with companies experimenting with new materials and designs. Plastic signs, for example, became popular, and companies used them to create whimsical and colourful signs, perfect for the post-war era. The plastic signs proved to be cheap and versatile allowing even smaller stores and companies to use them in their advertising.

Plastic combined well with neon lights and light bulbs too, allowing more complex, outdoor signs to be developed and displayed! Nowadays, the vast majority of signage is plastic, however, with attitudes changing towards the environmental impact of plastic use, could we see advertising signs reverting back to materials like metal again?

Vintage Advertising Signs : Revival

Today, advertising signs are still an important part of the marketing landscape, with companies using a variety of techniques to promote their products and services. However, for many people, vintage advertising signs hold a special appeal. These signs evoke a sense of nostalgia and remind us of a simpler time when advertising certainly seemed straightforward and less intrusive.

Replica vintage advertising signs are a great way to bring this sense of nostalgia into your home or business. These signs are made to look like vintage signs from the past, but they are often made with modern materials and techniques, ensuring that they are durable and long-lasting.

One of the great things about replica vintage advertising signs is that they come in a wide range of designs and styles. Whether you’re looking for a Coca-Cola sign from the 1920s or a neon sign from the 1950s, you’re sure to find something that appeals to your sense of style. The majority of our own metal wall signs are made using British Steel and are available in a variety of sizes.

In addition to their aesthetic appeal, replica vintage advertising signs also make great conversation pieces. These signs are often associated with a specific time period or cultural moment, and they can spark discussions about history, design, and marketing. If you wish to theme a room or space, the vintage advertising signs can be an interior decorator’s dream!

Overall, replica vintage advertising signs are a great way to add a touch of nostalgia and personality to your home or business. Whether you’re a fan of classic design or you simply appreciate the history behind these signs, a replica vintage advertising sign is a great investment that you’re sure to enjoy for years to come.

Here at Metal wall Signs we hope you have enjoyed reading our blog Advertising Signs : Remarkably Vintage Replicas are making a Comeback. Why not explore the possibilities these vintage advertising signs can create for you? If you have any questions about our products, please do not hesitate to contact us, we are a small family run business and are only too happy to help.

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