Since the dawn of human history, people have been trying to interpret signs; in the stars, in tarot cards, and on the interstate while driving at rapid speeds. Signage marks humanity’s attempts to communicate with one another through a visual format, with some arrangement of letters and pictures.
Starting way back in 40,000 B.C., early humans adorned cave walls with dirt, charcoal, and animal fat. The purposes of these works of art remain largely unclear, although there are varied theories. Some historians believe they served shamans for supernatural, ceremonial rituals; thus making the artwork early religious iconography. Others believe they depict hunting patterns, warnings and lessons for future generations, or that they are just merely social.
More advanced signage steadily popped up throughout the rest of the world: as hieroglyphs in ancient Egypt, carvings by the Mayans in South America, and advanced carvings by the Greeks and Romans. Wooden signs, intricate tapestries, and paintings guided people around cities and into pubs, markets, and other landmarks.
Inventions like Guttenberg’s press in 1452, when combined with complex ink creation and distribution, rocketed the popularity of signs even further thanks to greater access. As costs for sign-making went down, widespread usage went up.
The twentieth century quite literally shined an even greater light on the signage industry. The creation of neon, incandescent, and LEDs made signs flashier and more attention-grabbing. Vanguard inventors have now taken to developing interactive and 3D holographic signs. Only the future knows where the signage industry has left to go from here.
From cave paintings to holograms, human beings have always wanted to get the attention of others. Peer into the past and maybe catch a glimpse of the future with our short history of signage.
Stop by Sign Professionals today to witness how signs have evolved throughout history and let us provide you with the modern practices and results of signage production!