the power of plastic

Today’s post celebrates plastic signs that flourished in the 50s and 60s and have held up remarkably well over time in both the material and design. Some of the signs are smooth white which are back lit while others are corrugated plastic. After going through all my pictures I realized 3 things: 1) I have a lot of pictures, 2) red seems to be a dominant color with the text and 3) san serif type paired with script is commonly used. It is interesting to note that even decades later, these signs are still successful. This is a super long post — hang in there because the pics are totally worth it! If you make it all the way to the bottom, there is a star in the last sign just for you.
Albuquerque, NM:
abq entrance 1
abq entrance 2
Akron, OH:akron january paintIs it me or did the ‘r’ in ‘January’ get a little bit too excited?!
Beirut, Lebanon (picture credit: thanks dad!):beirut store I love the neon sign in Arabic in the window.
Boston, MA:boston hardwareA rare spotting of a serifed typeface on these types of signs. Everything was going ok until the dot of the i. Is that paint drop really necessary?! TWICE?! boston mother annasOne of my favorite signs in this collection. Something tells me you don’t mess around with Anna. Whatever she gives you, you eat. Or tickets 2Tickets! Here’s how the sign looks from a few blocks away: boston tickets
Cuyahoga Falls, OH:c falls minnesota paints c falls tri-co c falls whiskers
Cincinnati, OH:cincy hi rise delI am a huge fan of how this sign looks but I wonder if this is supposed to say ‘deli’ but they realized they didn’t have room for the ‘i’ and thought the ‘and’ was more important? Another strong pairing of script with san serif all caps type.cincy union optical plan
Prescott, AZ (picture credit: Erin Kinsella):erin kinsella dept store prescott
Siena, Italy (Picture Credit: Mårten Thavenius):Marten Thavenius sign siena italy
Miami, FL: miami hotel astor 1This is the only sign in this post where each letter is individual but it seemed to fit in. Here’s a close up: miami hotel astor 2
Miami, FL (Picture Credit: Margaret Gonzalez):miami margaret gonzalez motel 3 I bet Carl is such a chill guy. The palm trees. The script. Crack open a beer and kick your feet up at El Padre!
New Haven, CT: new haven art supplies 1This picture was taken right around the corner from the Yale School of Art in New Haven.
New York City: nyc bloomingdale's 2What I dig about this sign is that it is one of the major shopping tourist attractions in NYC and the sign hasn’t been updated. The letters almost have a tech-y feel to them…except for that S. nyc joe's dairy If Anna from Boston was hard core and Carl from Miami was chill, I’m going to guess that Joe is a rule follower. His sign is centered too perfectly, the all uppercase makes me nervous. Joe could use a night at El Padre if you ask me.
Pittsburgh, PA: pitts keystone plumbing pitts riggs restaurant lounge
Richmond, VA: richmond restaurant 1This sign is another one of my favorites. Holy confusion. American, Greek, Italian? Oh, wait. It’s Greek-Italian. Not Greek, Italian (whattt?!). Alcohol or coffee? It’s usually one or the other advertised and those illustrations look like they were illustrated by 2 different people in 2 different centuries. The Red Door Restaurant? Is this another restaurant or part of the same one?! What’s up with that H in ‘The’? Reach for the stars, buddy! Lastly, that S. He’s blue then red. Is that supposed to read Delicious Foods (so the S is shared for both lines)? Or Delicious Food? What a cluster.  An entire paragraph of questions on one sign.
San Antonio, TX: san antonio dentist
San Francisco, CA (Chinatown):san fran chinatown kites san fran chinatown only in 1This ampersand made my day. Here’s a close up: san fran chinatown only in 2 san fran chinatown sam's pizzaI would like to meet Sam. He can combine script with all caps serif (no small feat!), all caps san serif and upper and lowercase — all in one sign AND make it look easy breezy.  san fran henry's 1 Henry and NYC Joe are probably brother’s. They both have good apostrophe’s and that’s about it.
Sioux Falls, SD: sioux falls burger time 1I loved the signs in Sioux Falls, SD. Especially Sneaky’, a raccoon that wears a checkered hat and high top sneakers. He’s so cute I aaaaalmost didn’t notice the apostrophe is a star. Almost. sioux falls sneaky's


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