Mar 14, 2019

The Nostalgia of Neon and Why It Works

Neon lights have lit up urban areas across the world for years; from London’s Piccadilly Circus to the Las Vegas strip. Even through redevelopment periods, it seems that the glow of neon doesn’t go out of style; a bright, eye-catching way of advertising businesses, it just worked.

Neon signs have been used in this way since the early 1900s, originating in Paris but spreading as far as Hong Kong, Bangkok and pretty much every state in America. The problem now, is that many companies who used neon signs in the past, are now moving towards LED installations; something that is incredibly different to the bright glow of neon. However, there is just something about neon that draws you in and creates a striking impression; it’s something that can’t be replicated.

The evolution of neon

Through the decades, neon helped to light up cities, inspire artists and shone in the background of films and album covers. Through the roaring 20s and struggling 30s, neon was a cheerful beacon. It was used in restaurants, cinemas and public areas like Times Square in New York.

The use of neon lights seemed to pop up everywhere at once; an epidemic of bright multicoloured lights. Even churches, and house numbers, weren’t safe. In 1950s Vancouver, more strip neon was produced than anywhere else on the planet; there was one neon sign for every 18 residents.

As happens to all trends, there comes a time when the public fall out of love with it. With neon signs, it didn’t happen until the 1960s and neon became synonymous with more run-down areas of the world’s cities. Neon signs became known as advertisements for sex shops and seedy bars. Despite this, the neon sign was still prolific across the continents.

Modern neon

Despite its history in being associated with red light districts, neon signs remained a fun and remarkable way to advertise and entice customers through the years. The makers of neon signs continued to hone their craft, and carried on hand-making signs for businesses and individuals alike.

Its bright glow still drives a beautiful, visual appearance to urban areas. In fact, it seems to be experiencing a resurgence since its seedier days of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Businesses are harnessing the power of a neon light in different ways; a novel way for people to take selfies on a night out in bar, or recreating a retro diner vibe for a unique experience.

What’s more, neon signs are still made by hand, with custom designs becoming incredibly popular as a way of decorating your home. Artists like Tracey Emin began using neon as an art form, giving it a new lease of life. A neon sign or light is now a retro, nostalgic addition for your interior design, event or business, that still provides an incredible wow factor no matter how many times you look at it.

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