Over the next three weeks, we’re going to share some of our favorite neon sign work we’ve ever done. You may have already seen the Neon Signs section of our site, where we talk about how this type of custom sign is created. Beyond the process of creating these signs, the culture around them is also really interesting.
While neon signs were first demonstrated in 1910 by Georges Claude at the Paris Motor Show, they were most popular in the United States from 1920 – 1960. Downtown city blocks were lined and lighted with bright, colorful neon invitations through the night. Because there are so few “glass benders” (neon sign designers) around today, cities have developed strong relationships with these shops as to maintain historic landmarks lit with these colorful lines. You may have noticed that Ventura blocks are still lit with many of these neon signs, and that is largely due to the fact that we still bend neon in-house, and we provide that option for so many of our customers.
Neon was brought to glory in the form of signs, but experienced resurgence in the last decade amongst artists and architects. As the art world turned their attention back to neon, business owners caught the glance. Rather than creating entire signs out of neon, the gas-filled colorful glass began to accent signs, bringing attention to the artwork from blocks away. The few businesses that choose neon signs light up the night with distinct primary colors, making the rest of their block practically transparent.
However, this resurgence of neon is not an exact replica of the past. An all-neon “OPEN” sign is a symbol burned into minds and memories over several decades, and doesn’t catch the eye in the same way it did in the ‘60s. Today’s neon signs are bright and flashy, but they compete with the lights of bright white bill-boards and smart phone screens. Catching attention isn’t enough.
Neon signs that work are carefully crafted. Their colors complement the existing colors of a business. They attract attention, and move that attention toward a message or artwork that appeals to the eye and emotions.
Over the next three weeks we will show you three incredible neon signs in the Ventura area that do just this. We’ll explain how the design was chosen, and why it worked.