World Sign
Vol. 88: Neon Signs Fit in with Europeans’ Daily Life
Neon Signs Fit in with Europeans’ Daily Life

Neon signs do not attract much attention after the bubble economy burst. There uses to be a lot of neon signs on top of buildings in a busy district, but in many cases only steel frames were left nowadays. In Japan, the mainstream neon signs have been those placed on the roofs of big buildings, and the sponsor was usually a big company who was enjoying the high-growth economy. If you pay attention, you will notice that there are many small illuminated street signs in the shopping streets and at restaurants but not as many neon signs. In other words, there are not too many neon signs in areas close to daily life.

I had the impression that there were not too many neon signs in Europe. However, surprisingly I found many in the cities of Europe. In Dutch cities the lights of neon signs blended with the streets and old buildings. They did not have complicated designs nor did they blink. In many cases, they were in traditional styles and only letters were used. These signs blended nicely into the scenery.

The first neon sign was created in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century. Because of this history, neon signs seemed natural on the streets of Europe. The Europeans value neon signs, which already are their traditional signs, and pay no attention to new technology such as LED. The European spirit is found in a neon sign.

(translated by Satoko Matsuoka)

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