Signs are ubiquitous. They inform, invite, beckon, and some signs say “stay away.”
From the National Park Services Technical Preservation Services, in Preservation Brief #25, “American sign practices originated largely in Europe. The earliest commercial signs included symbols of the merchant’s goods or tradesman’s craft. Emblems were mounted on poles, suspended from buildings, or painted on hanging wooden boards. Such symbolic signs were necessary in a society where few could read, although verbal signs were not entirely unknown. A sheep signified a tailor, a tankard a tavern.”
Some are familiar and even iconic. They speak of commerce and capital.
Signs call us back to our past and evoke memories of a different time and show us how signs have evolved over time.
Others communicate to us that a business might be less commercial, with an orientation focused on the local and the community where they reside.
There are signs that speak to matters less temporal, directing us towards what might lie beyond this mortal coil.
Then there are those signs that contain a message, but the context is tougher to figure out.