A Brief History of Signage

The different types of signage you see throughout your city have a long history of serving an important service—spreading information. Whether these are advertisement materials or safety signs, Singapore has several posted all over the country. Although they differ in their messages, they all have the same purpose.

Get a better appreciation of this communication channel by finding out more about its origin.

It Started with the Greeks

The current iteration of signs began with the Ancient Greeks. Due to mass illiteracy, they had to use different imagery to identify places of business and government locations. Most of these signs were carved into wood or stone for the materials’ durability. Over time, sign makers started embellishing their creations with different paints and even gold leaves.

The Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution, mass production became widely available. Sign makers no longer had to handcraft each sign, which cost them valuable time and money. With machines, they were able to streamline their production and improve business performance.

Aside from accelerating the process, sign makers now had other ways to embellish their signs. Instead of simply using bright colours, they had the option to install lights on their signs. Illuminated signs became a popular advertisement method for businesses because they were more eye-catching, especially at night or during bad weather conditions.

The Influence of Neon Lights

The discovery of neon gas significantly impacted the sign-making industry. In the 1920s, neon-luminous signs became the go-to advertising material. Using fluorescent tubes injected with neon gas, sign makers were able to create different shapes and letters that would illuminate at the flip of a switch. These colourful signs would create a memorable aesthetic that remains popular in modern times.

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Going Digital

The sign-making industry is highly adaptable, choosing to integrate the latest technology in its products. As the Digital Age emerged, sign makers started incorporating new inventions into their processes. They took advantage of design software to create signs that had more intricate details. Then, they started using programmes that allowed them to control the lights they attached to the signs. Now, they can easily adjust the brightness and change the colours whenever they wanted to.

These days, it’s common to see LCD screens that flash different signs. This innovation allows advertisers to promote multiple brands and products in a single location. Additionally, it paved the way for engaging signage as sign makers would incorporate animations into their creations.

The Future of Signage

Although it’s impossible to tell what the future holds for any industry, it’s fair to assume that the signage industry will continue to adapt to new changes. With engagement continuing to be an essential part of marketing, the world might see a rise in interactive signs. Some commercial centres are already using this technology to enhance the consumer experience. Additionally, the prospect of holographic signs continues to interest sign makers. While it is still in development, experiments have been conducted to determine its feasibility. It is only a matter of time before the world is introduced to more technologically advanced signage.