America’s Most Famous Signs

The Five Man Electrical Band first sang “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign” in 1971 and that lyric still rings true today. In 2021, the average American encounters somewhere between 6,000-10,000 advertisements every single day. Some signs have managed to stand out from the rest and represent the cool, classic Americana nostalgia that withstands the test of time. These are the ones that have become America’s most famous signs!

Viva Las Vegas

 The allure of the Las Vegas sign has captivated newcomers for decades. 

When you look at the Las Vegas sign, you can almost hear Elvis belting those now infamous words, “Viva Las Vegas!” 

This landmark has been a Sin City staple for nearly sixty years. It was constructed in 1959 under the direction of designer Betty Willis and stands at 25 feet tall. The sign’s design elements capture classic American tastes with its horizontal diamond shape, white background and “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” message in red and blue font colors. 

The gold and red neon elements shine bright in the Nevada desert and beacon tourists to explore the Vegas Strip. The flashing lights symbolize the luck tourists hope to find while there. Fun fact: the Las Vegas sign isn’t copyrighted, so you can borrow some style inspiration to create a fun, Sin City-inspired sign for your next event!

Get Your Kicks On Route 66 

Route 66 shepherded roadtrippers from the heartland to the California Coast for 59 years. The iconic Route 66 road markers were placed along the 2,200 mile stretch of highway that spanned eight states and connected rural America to big cities. In a way, the Route 66 signs symbolize a modern manifest destiny and are endearingly referred to as the “Main Street of America”.  

Though motorists can no longer drive the full stretch, about 85% of Route 66 is still driveable. The classic white sign and bold, black font can still be seen along stretches of the roadway today. These iconic signs still represent the possibilities along the open road and that’s why modern day motorists still make the trek to Oklahoma to see the original Route 66 sign.

Signage In Seattle: Pike Place Market

From Starbucks to Nirvana to the Space Needle, Seattle has produced several pop culture phenomena. In addition to grunge rock and cold brew, this city also boasts a world-famous farmer’s market! 

Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operating farmer’s markets in the United States. First opened in 1907, the market served as a business hub for farmers, most of whom were Italian and Japanese immigrant farmers. The market’s direct-to-consumer approach was popular for farmers and customers alike.

The market is a favorite among locals and must-see for tourists thanks to its iconic fish toss (yes, seafood vendors literally toss raw fish over customers’ heads) and famous sign. The iconic Pike Place sign features a white and red clock face and bright red font. The market has rocked the red neon sign since the 1920’s with its bold yet classic design. The clock featured on the sign is still operational and represents the timeless aesthetic and resiliency of this special landmark.  

Radio City Music Hall

Despite the hardships of the Great Depression, New York City’s Radio City Music Hall was successfully completed in 1932. The music hall was part of a larger development: the famous Rockefeller Center. The music hall boasts over 6,000 seats and, to this day, patrons keep filling them in part because of the establishment’s impeccable design. 

The famous Radio City Music Hall entrance features two vertical and one horizontal marquis signs with unmistakable Art Deco elements. The flashing blue, red, and gold lights have welcomed world famous acts from Pink Floyd to Lady Gaga and showcase the home of the Radio City Rockettes. 

Radio City Music Hall’s signage represents the classic style of the Big Apple and all of the grand sights and sounds New York has to offer. John D. Rockefeller’s initial vision of providing an affordable performance venue for the people is still alive and well today. Tourists and native New Yorkers alike still flock to the center to be dazzled by the sign and the center’s spectacles. 

A Star In Its Own Right: The Hollywood Sign

Last but certainly not least on this list of America’s most famous signs is the world-famous Hollywood sign. A veritable celebrity itself, The Hollywood sign has represented the star-studded history of fame and fortune newcomers still hope to find there to this day. 

Hollywood was first marketed as an escape for California’s elite and the sign read “Hollywoodland”. Gold rush prospectors and silver screen hopefuls alike came to the hills to try and make it big. Though the sign was first erected in 1923, it wasn’t until 1949 when “land” was dropped from the end of Hollywood that it became the Hollywood sign that tourists and Californians know and love today. Nestled perfectly in the Los Angeles hillside, the sign still features the bright-white letters which have welcomed dreamers to town for nearly a century. 

Even if you’re not trying to immortalize your signage in the heart of American pop culture, you can still borrow a page from these famous signs’ book to help your business stand out. Bold yet classic design in a great location will catch a customer’s eye and draw them to your front door. Even if your sign may not go down in history, you can still make a lasting impression on shoppers with affordable, well designed signage!

 

References

How Many Ads Do We See A Day In 2021?

PPC Protect

https://ppcprotect.com/how-many-ads-do-we-see-a-day/

Welcome to Las Vegas sign now part of the National Register of Historic Places

Classic Las Vegas

http://classiclasvegas.squarespace.com/classic-las-vegas-blog/2009/5/21/welcome-to-las-vegas-sign-now-part-of-the-national-register.html

Route 66 decertified, highway signs removed

History.com

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/route-66-decertified

A QUICK HISTORY OF THE PIKE PLACE MARKET

Pike Place Market

http://pikeplacemarket.org/sites/default/files/paperclip/attachments/452/original/Quick_History.pdf?1406921455

History of Radio City Music Hall

Madison Square Garden Entertainment

https://www.msg.com/radio-city-music-hall/history

The history of the Hollywood sign, from public nuisance to symbol of stardom

The Conversation

https://theconversation.com/the-history-of-the-hollywood-sign-from-public-nuisance-to-symbol-of-stardom-78584

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