Eye-catching, vibrant and alluring, neon business signs are synonymous with the appearance of modern city skylines around the world. It would be hard to imagine downtown Louisville or Fourth Street Live without some kind of neon signage illuminating the evening cityscape.
First demonstrated in 1910 at the Paris Motor Show, this gas filled tubing was initially developed as a form of lighting. Its popularity rose as an advertising and signage medium, becoming hugely popular in America during the twenties and thirties. It soon spread across the world and became a major presence, not just in advertising but also in illumination, art, and architecture.
Neon signage is highly effective in advertising, the vibrant colors and shapes drawing the eye to any slogan. It developed to become a well-known marketing tool, used in the branding of many of our best-known products. Its use for signage and decoration is still employed by many businesses, in particular bars, clubs and restaurants wishing to create a vibrant and exciting atmosphere.
Not only used for marketing purposes, it is also highly popular in artistic circles. Over recent years the use of this versatile material has taken off and become popular in the contemporary arts. With famous artists such Bruce Nauman and Martin Creed experimenting with its qualities, it is now a common sight in the world’s great galleries.
As a fashionable addition to many home and office spaces, it offers stylish alternative lighting for a modern interior. Design companies create lighting specific to the desires of a customer and bespoke pieces to grace any given space. These illuminations can create a retro or modern feel and make an interesting centerpiece, for example in a games room or modern dining room.
So as design pieces, statements and adverts, neon signs hold their own in today’s homes and marketplaces. The iconic images of many cities and brands are still dominated by the presence of this versatile and exciting form of lighting. However they may be used, our culture and urban landscape would be unrecognizable without them.