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When thinking of the history of signs, few of us contemplate its presence in the ancient world however; in reality they were a huge part of human communication.

Signs have been used since human beings started to express themselves by their drawings and paintings in caves.

History says that Egyptians, Romans or Greeks did use signs, in Ancient Rome, signboards were usually made from stone or terracotta. Several Romans examples are preciously kept, namely one of the first Roman tavern signs the “Bush”,  from which is derived the proverb “Good wine needs no bush”.

These signs were not only used for communication but were also ritualistic and spiritual in nature symbolism. Some of them identified certain trades. It worth knowing that the first road sign system to indicate distances and directions was introduced by Romans.

Time passing by, with the increase in commerce and trade, signs were related with more  creative and artistic forms and became more elaborate. Bright paint, carving, gilding became very fashionable.


Historically, the signs which attract the most attention are the Pub and Inn signs found in England, Europe and North America. In fact, round 1393,  King Richard II passed an act stating that all alehouses must post a sign. Signboards became a way of advertising. Shop keepers had their names above the doors of their business, some of them illustrated their trade, for example:  scissor and comb for the hairdresser …


New technology brought up new type of signs with the invention of gas lighting and electric bulbs and in 1929 the first neon sign was born. Neon tube were used in several shapes and came in many colors. Development went fast : plastics, man-made fibres, LED lighting, digital signage are now commonly used in all cities of the world.

Today, I have chosen to show you a bunch  of signs I have been photographing.


Let’s start by my favorite :

Isn’t it nice ?

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