In October I attended the National Signage Research and Education Conference organized by the Signage Foundation in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati College of Business and Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.
Part of the Conference included a visit to the American Signage Museum in Cincinnati. A signage museum, really? Who would have thunk it!!
Signage Isn’t Boring
Walking through that museum made me think about ours and others perceptions of the industry we are in. When we tell people about the industry, they often retort “Signage, how boring!” or what’s up with Signs, they are inanimate objects that in the main just serve some functional purposes, but are really nothing to get excited about” How wrong they are.
As I began to walk the floor at the museum my emotions were awakened. My sense of smell, my sense of taste, my memory, all became alive.
The old Holiday Inn sign brought to mind the vacations I went on as a little boy and in my mind’s eye I saw my parents, now departed, opening our
suitcases in our room and I pictured the excitement as my brothers and I fought for which bed we would have and the pillow fights that ensued that night.
The old Phillips 99 sign flooded my memory of my Dad’s 1953 Plymouth motor car, sleek and black and I could see the pride on his face as he drove his prized possession into that gas station.
Looking at the old Howard Johnson sign activated my sense of taste and I could almost savor the flavor of the ice cream my parents treated me to there.
And the old barber shop sign reminded me of Alfredo, the Italian gentleman who cut my hair short and above my ears in accordance with my mother’s instructions.
Signage Brings Back Nostalgic Moments
And as I went on, the memories brought some tears to my eyes and I became acutely aware that the signs may be inanimate but we have a powerful connection with some of them – a connection that can bring some very nostalgic memories to us and evoke some very powerful emotions.
It was with a sense of pride in my industry that I left the museum. So what’s next? Maybe a Signage Hall of Fame?