Showcase Of Beautiful Vintage and Retro Signage

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Many designers and artists have a true love for vintage and retro design and share their passion when the opportunity arises. One could probably find several hundred showcases of retro designs on display today in the 21st century, but not many of actual vintage ones that were used in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s and are still in use today.

To celebrate the beauty of vintage and retro typography, we have compiled a showcase of vintage and retro signage to inspire you: a great excuse to take five minutes out to admire the styles, whether simple or complex, and the love that went into creating these gorgeous vintage signs.

Showcase of Vintage Signage

Sydney1

Vintage Signage - Sydney2

hampton inn. green bay, wi. 20063

Vintage Signage - hampton inn. green bay, wi. 20064

deangelis (delightfully different) donuts5
Rochester, PA

Vintage Signage - deangelis (delightfully different) donuts6

bakersfield7
Drive-up green burger/pastrami joint

Vintage Signage - bakersfield8

Simmons and Clark Jeweler in Downtown Detroit9

Vintage Signage - Simmons and Clark Jeweler in Downtown Detroit10

liquor. santa monica, ca. 200611

Vintage Signage - liquor. santa monica, ca. 200612

Put Some South in Your Mouth13

Vintage Signage - Put Some South in Your Mouth14

Seoul rock15
Rock & roll joint somewhere in the upmarket Apgujeong.

Vintage Signage - Seoul rock16

Mel’s Drive In17
Great retro neon and bub signage for Mel’s in Hollywood.

Vintage Signage - Mel's Drive In18

they go together like a horse and carriage19

Vintage Signage - they go together like a horse and carriage20

4600ish N Western21

Vintage Signage - 4600ish N Western22

Walthamstow Stadium23

Vintage Signage - Walthamstow Stadium24

Motel Hamburg25

Vintage Signage - Motel Hamburg26

Remember me, summer27

Vintage Signage - Remember me, summer28

Italy Ninetta von Blaschke29

Vintage Signage - Italy Ninetta von Blaschke30

Tradewinds Motel31

Vintage Signage - Tradewinds Motel - 232

Canterbury Records33

Vintage Signage - Canterbury Records - rear34

Johnny Rockets on Woodward in Downtown Detroit35
A cool sign for a 50’s style diner, this chain of restaurant was originally launched out of California in 1986. Located in Foxtown, this diner is right near The Fillmore, Fox Theater, and Comerica Park.

Vintage Signage - Johnny Rockets on Woodward in Downtown Detroit36

Eyetwist signs37

Vintage Signage - eyetwist signs38

The Flame39

The Flame40

Eyetwist signs 241

Vintage Signage - eyetwist signs42

Urban Script43
As seen in downtown Buffalo, New York.

Vintage Signage - Urban Script44

Ice-Cold45

Vintage Signage - Ice-Cold46

Casa de cadillac, Sherman oaks47

Vintage Signage - casa de cadillac. sherman oaks, ca. 1995.48

prcssd. las vegas, nv. 200749

Vintage Signage - prcssd. las vegas, nv. 200750

The Palms Motor Hotel51
Portland, Oregon.

Vintage Signage - The Palms Motor Hotel52

Lights for Liquor53

Vintage Signage - Lights for Liquor54

route 66. seligman, az. 200755

Vintage Signage - route 66. seligman, az. 2007.56

Bubbles57

Vintage Signage - Bubbles58

Parkside59
Parkside Candies in Amherst, NY.

Vintage Signage - Parkside60

Krispy Kreme in Kolor61
Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN.

Vintage Signage - Krispy Kreme in Kolor62

Carling Black Label Beer63
Albany, GA; Oglethorpe Lounge.

Vintage Signage - Carling Black Label Beer64

South Haven65

Vintage Signage - south haven66

Last Click

route 66. hackberry, az. 2007.67

Vintage Signage - route 66. hackberry, az. 2007.68

Uncle Jer’s69
Great side wall signage for Uncle Jer’s on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles doing business since 1978.

Vintage Signage - Uncle Jer's70

Chubbie’s71

Vintage Signage - Chubbie's72

R.I.P. Zipperhead73
A South Street icon bites the dust. At least the new shop left the giant creepy ants on the facade. And there is Crash, Bang, Boom — a very respectable spin-off shop, around the corner. Philadelphia, PA.

Vintage Signage - R.I.P. Zipperhead74

>>> Moving Forward >>>75

Vintage Signage -  Moving Forward76

Flickr Groups

Flickr is a superb place to search for inspiration of all kinds, no matter what your project. Check out some of these great sign-related groups, and contribute to them if you have your own great photos of vintage signs!

Further Resources

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Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/russelldavies/3485806126/
  2. 2 http://www.flickr.com/photos/russelldavies/3485806126/
  3. 3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/264014748/in/set-72157603448582705/
  4. 4 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/264014748/in/set-72157603448582705/
  5. 5 http://www.flickr.com/photos/macwagen/2296389574/
  6. 6 http://www.flickr.com/photos/macwagen/2296389574/
  7. 7 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trudence/46266213/
  8. 8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trudence/46266213/
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1307420603/
  10. 10 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1307420603/
  11. 11 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/236605229/
  12. 12 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/236605229/
  13. 13 http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidsimmons/3869330012/
  14. 14 http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidsimmons/3869330012/
  15. 15 http://www.flickr.com/photos/seanportfolio/3431403029/
  16. 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/seanportfolio/3431403029/
  17. 17 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4166543593/
  18. 18 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4166543593/
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoralnick/3330193607/
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoralnick/3330193607/
  21. 21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/m500/2551640410/
  22. 22 http://www.flickr.com/photos/m500/2551640410/
  23. 23 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mondoagogo/2774501889/
  24. 24 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mondoagogo/2774501889/
  25. 25 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eriwst/4236140391/in/pool-355438@N24
  26. 26 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eriwst/4236140391/in/pool-355438@N24
  27. 27 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregturner/2223239380/
  28. 28 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregturner/2223239380/
  29. 29 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bundscherer/2879022271/
  30. 30 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bundscherer/2879022271/
  31. 31 http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyshooter/2471905619/
  32. 32 http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyshooter/2471905619/
  33. 33 http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomuchfire/3879137766/
  34. 34 http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomuchfire/3879137766/
  35. 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1878028866/
  36. 36 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1878028866/
  37. 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/131656510/
  38. 38 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/131656510/
  39. 39 http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/2133401621/
  40. 40 http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/2133401621/
  41. 41 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/83934855/in/set-1792740/
  42. 42 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/83934855/in/set-1792740/
  43. 43 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmeadows2/2850088363/
  44. 44 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmeadows2/2850088363/
  45. 45 http://www.flickr.com/photos/anselolson/3503207722/
  46. 46 http://www.flickr.com/photos/anselolson/3503207722/
  47. 47 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/2639726575/
  48. 48 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/2639726575/
  49. 49 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/939722769/
  50. 50 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/939722769/
  51. 51 http://www.flickr.com/photos/curtisperry/2810776412/
  52. 52 http://www.flickr.com/photos/curtisperry/2810776412/
  53. 53 http://www.flickr.com/photos/33237475@N05/3205178833/
  54. 54 http://www.flickr.com/photos/33237475@N05/3205178833/
  55. 55 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/470796408/
  56. 56 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/470796408/
  57. 57 http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeioux/55162284/
  58. 58 http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeioux/55162284/
  59. 59 http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardsmallbone/1737794385/
  60. 60 http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardsmallbone/1737794385/
  61. 61 http://www.flickr.com/photos/shani_stuff/430960731/
  62. 62 http://www.flickr.com/photos/shani_stuff/430960731/
  63. 63 http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/1772426024/
  64. 64 http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/1772426024/
  65. 65 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dystopos/13891569/
  66. 66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dystopos/13891569/
  67. 67 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/475841316/
  68. 68 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/475841316/
  69. 69 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4204189318/
  70. 70 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4204189318/
  71. 71 http://www.flickr.com/photos/43067379@N00/3455678972/
  72. 72 http://www.flickr.com/photos/43067379@N00/3455678972/
  73. 73 http://www.flickr.com/photos/spikyone/2256360958/
  74. 74 http://www.flickr.com/photos/spikyone/2256360958/
  75. 75 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lavidasegunseba/2973547227/
  76. 76 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lavidasegunseba/2973547227/
  77. 77 http://www.flickr.com/groups/fadedsignage/
  78. 78 http://www.flickr.com/groups/sanjosevintagesignage/
  79. 79 http://www.flickr.com/groups/signage_typography/
  80. 80 http://www.flickr.com/groups/vintageneon/
  81. 81 http://www.flickr.com/groups/ilovesigns/
  82. 82 http://www.flickr.com/groups/motelhotelsigns/
  83. 83 http://www.flickr.com/groups/vintagetexaco/
  84. 84 http://www.flickr.com/groups/plastic_signs/
  85. 85 http://www.flickr.com/groups/liquorstores/
  86. 86 http://www.flickr.com/groups/372089@N25
  87. 87 http://www.rightathome.com/view.aspx?pid=717
  88. 88 http://www.enotes.com/how-products-encyclopedia/neon-sign
  89. 89 http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/07/50-examples-of-vintage-typography/
  90. 90 http://spyrestudios.com/insane-vintage-and-grungy-typographic-poster-designs/
  91. 91 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/26/retro-and-vintage-typography-showcase/
  92. 92 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/13/60-rare-and-unusual-vintage-signs/
  93. 93 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/07/retro-and-vintage-in-modern-web-design/
  94. 94 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/14/30-beautiful-vintageretro-photoshop-tutorials/

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Callum Chapman is a self-employed blogger and graphic/web designer. He has recently launched a blog dedicated to visual inspiration for designers, photographers and artists called The Inspiration Blog.

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  1. 1

    Floris Fiedeldij Dop

    January 8, 2010 5:21 am

    Great shots! It’s amazing how photography can help make an every day or even retro and worn out signs look amazing. It’s clear where the typography and actual design and branding etc has gone into. Great engineering and development.

    0
  2. 2

    Thanks for sharing! Beautiful craftsmanship that is missing from a lot of what you see today. When a lot of these were made they were somewhat more difficult to produce, yet still hold up well and are better designed than many of the signs you see today.

    0
    • 3

      Beautiful !
      Yes, same in Tokyo what happened in design world .
      Main problem is ,they are changing before they get old. Too many Designers.

      Too bad I don’t see rusty sign anymore in Tokyo .

      0
  3. 4

    If you’re ever in Las Vegas, Nevada and want to see some fabulous vintage neon and hear some history, book a visit to the Neon Museum’s Boneyard, an outdoor museum for old Vegas signage. Took a trip there last autumn and it was incredible!

    0
    • 5

      I’ll be going to Las Vegas one day in my lifetime, I’ll be sure to check out the museum :D

      0
  4. 6
  5. 7

    Superb.. the Walthamstow Stadium is not too far from me :D

    0
    • 8

      About a hour or so away from me.. Went there a few years ago – I believe it’s shut now?

      0
    • 9

      The stadium is shut and in hands of property developers. Except for the front facade – what you see in the picture – everything else behind it will become houses and apartments.

      0
  6. 10

    Great photos. Love the vintage signs and photo editing to make them pop better.

    0
  7. 11

    nice article

    0
  8. 12

    Those are great. Love the angles on the shots.

    0
  9. 13

    that was nice!

    0
  10. 14

    Hope you all like my latest post, be sure to Promote It! :)

    0
  11. 15

    I see that you included the cool Blues City Cafe sign, but not the even cooler Joe’s Liquor Store sign, both in blues city – Memphis, Tennessee. As a longtime Memphian who now lives in rural Virginia, I miss these (and other) funky signs. To see the sign, search joes liquor store, midtown Memphis

    0
  12. 16

    Awesome collection!

    0
  13. 17
  14. 18

    great photos. love the vintage signs!!!

    0
  15. 19

    These are great photos of vintage signs. I especially like the Hampton Inn, the rusty Shell sign, and the Zipperhead ants. Actually, I really like them all!

    Thanks for sharing.

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  16. 20

    great round up, thanks Callum!

    love the “Drive In Liquor Store” lol! i remember an old stand up bit .. those stores are just the thing for those drunk drivers that are on the go!

    thanks again

    Bruce (@transcendwebs)

    0
  17. 21
  18. 22

    The first Krispy Kreme store that opened in 1937 in my hometown of Winston-Salem, NC, is sadly no longer open, but there are still two stores in the city. All of the KK signs still bear the classic lettering.

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  19. 23
  20. 24

    No Coca-Cola signs? Missed a good opportunity…

    0
  21. 26

    Very inspiring … I love the old sign scripts. Thanks for sharing!

    0
  22. 27

    Funny to see Andre’s burgers signage. I live in Bakersfield and we have a couple of those still around. I wish there was some shots of our museum’s growing collection of neon signs still up and running in the back. Found a few here : http://www.dcgibs.com/Bakersfield-Community-Events/Pioneer-Village-Neon-Lights-II/8829259_kTHRT#590299533_bvcgW but the collection has grown quite a bit more than what they put up.

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  23. 28

    Ivo Josipovic is new president of Croatia, congratulations…

    Heil Red Croatia!

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  24. 29

    Thanks so much for these! I am obsessed with this stuff and even have some nice examples of my own on Flickr. (username: Chicagobart)

    :)

    0
  25. 30

    This one is pretty cool too. Too bad it didn’t make the list: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xhengis/4141990233/

    0
  26. 31

    Great roundup! Love the R.I.P. Zipperhead, that’s a creative one!

    0
  27. 32

    Awesome collection! I love the ants!

    0
  28. 33

    Great photos.
    I also suffer from a sign fetish…;-)

    0
  29. 34

    Oh, this is so nicely nice. :’3

    0
  30. 35

    Thank you. And thanks for the resource links. Not only am I inspired to move on my designs, I’m inspired to work on rebranding my business. Thanks a million for the inspiration!! Love that retro Googie signage!

    0
  31. 36

    Albuquerque has an amazing collection of vintage signs. It seems that every business has one out front. It is quite wonderful eye candy driving through downtown at night. My favorite was the Dog House Drive-in with a dachshund wagging its tail in neon lights. Oh I miss seeing well made signs.

    0
  32. 37

    Perhaps a little US centric, it would be great to see more examples outside of the states.

    0
  33. 38

    Here is an original 40’s painted Pepsi sign that was just revealed after decades of being covered by a wood facade. Located in Winston-Salem, NC Burke Street.
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Winston-Salem-NC/One-Hero-Creative/71116821252#!/photo.php?pid=6833129&fbid=457593201252&id=71116821252

    -1

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