The Most Famous Signs in America

The Most Famous Signs in America

It does seem that signs are everywhere. You can’t walk out of your house without seeing a yard sign or two, and you certainly can’t drive around without seeing dozens of them.

But some signs are special.

Some signs stay with us for years, even decades. They become more than signs – they’re landmarks or even cultural icons.

What gives a sign this kind of staying power? Why would someone drive out of their way just to see a sign?

Unfortunately, this kind of power in signs and banners can’t be bottled and sold. But we can learn from some of the most memorable and famous signs in America, and perhaps duplicate some of their success.

We’ve tried to deconstruct some of the most famous signs to see what gives them their edge. You’ve probably seen some of them, if not in person, on the silver screen.

Here are five of the most famous signs in America.

 Randy's Donuts, Inglewood California

What can we say about the famous “Randy’s Donuts” sign? It’s unusual, but many signs are unusual. So what makes it work?

Our theory is that the sign works because of the pure obviousness that aligns with its weirdness: A donut sign about a donut shop that says, “Randy’s Donuts” for a place called “Randy’s Donuts.” It has a kind of bizarre circular elegance, don’t you think?


Uncle Sam Recruiting Signs

Uncle Sam has been around for over 200 years, and no one is completely certain where he originated (though there are a few legendary stories). It’s easy to say that he works because of his patriotic persona, but he’s stuck around far longer than most patriotic signs and slogans.

So take a look at his eyes. Look at that pointing finger. He’s talking to YOU. Uncle Sam has a personal feel. He doesn’t want just anybody. He wants YOU. That’s the difference.

Nathan's Famous, Coney Island, New York

Nathan’s Famous combines many elements to reach icon status. First, it’s huge – the entire building is a sign. The electronic part of the sign – the hot dog eating contest – gives it an interactive element that was way ahead of its time. And finally, the sign takes garishness to an art form – it’s absolutely impossible to miss if you’re on Coney Island beach

It just seems like a fun place to eat, doesn’t it?

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign

Built in 1959, this famous sign is much smaller than you’d think. So why is it the sign shown in every movie about Vegas?

The designers of this sign did a great job of capturing the spirit of Las Vegas. The primary colors, the star, the neon, and the word “Fabulous” all just are Las Vegas. It’s a perfect example of understanding the environment for a sign.

Hollywood Sign,Los Angeles, California

We saved this one for last because it just might be the most famous sign in the world. And we wish we could give you a formula for creating a sign this emblematic of a culture, but the truth is that there was a lot of luck involved.

The sign was built in 1923 to advertise a housing development called Hollywoodland, but it’s stayed up, obviously, because of its connection to the movie industry. 1923 was a perfect moment for the sign, as film production companies were becoming well-established in Los Angeles at that time. Would we remember this sign if it had been built in 1913 or 1933 for Hollywoodland? We’ll never know, but we do know it the timing was ideal for an American landmark known all over the world.

What Can We Learn from All This?

Here are a few elements that have made these signs famous:

  • Unusual
  • Personal
  • Interactive
  • Perfect for its place

While we may not hit the mark for a sign or symbol that will last two hundred years, we can still use these elements to create memorable signs and banners that will do what most of us want – bring in business!

Our designers can help you design a sign or banner that will hit the mark for your audience. Get started making some history today at BannerBuzz!

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