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Showcase Of Beautiful Vintage and Retro Signage

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.

You might be interested in the following related posts:

Showcase of Vintage Signage Link

Sydney4

Vintage Signage - Sydney5

hampton inn. green bay, wi. 20066

Vintage Signage - hampton inn. green bay, wi. 20067

deangelis (delightfully different) donuts8
Rochester, PA

Vintage Signage - deangelis (delightfully different) donuts9

bakersfield10
Drive-up green burger/pastrami joint

Vintage Signage - bakersfield11

Simmons and Clark Jeweler in Downtown Detroit12

Vintage Signage - Simmons and Clark Jeweler in Downtown Detroit13

liquor. santa monica, ca. 200614

Vintage Signage - liquor. santa monica, ca. 200615

Put Some South in Your Mouth16

Vintage Signage - Put Some South in Your Mouth17

Seoul rock18
Rock & roll joint somewhere in the upmarket Apgujeong.

Vintage Signage - Seoul rock19

Mel’s Drive In20
Great retro neon and bub signage for Mel’s in Hollywood.

Vintage Signage - Mel's Drive In21

they go together like a horse and carriage22

Vintage Signage - they go together like a horse and carriage23

4600ish N Western

Vintage Signage - 4600ish N Western

Walthamstow Stadium24

Vintage Signage - Walthamstow Stadium25

Motel Hamburg26

Vintage Signage - Motel Hamburg27

Remember me, summer28

Vintage Signage - Remember me, summer29

Italy Ninetta von Blaschke30

Vintage Signage - Italy Ninetta von Blaschke31

Tradewinds Motel32

Vintage Signage - Tradewinds Motel - 233

Canterbury Records34

Vintage Signage - Canterbury Records - rear35

Johnny Rockets on Woodward in Downtown Detroit36
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 Detroit37

Eyetwist signs38

Vintage Signage - eyetwist signs39

The Flame40

The Flame41

Eyetwist signs 242

Vintage Signage - eyetwist signs43

Urban Script44
As seen in downtown Buffalo, New York.

Vintage Signage - Urban Script45

Ice-Cold46

Vintage Signage - Ice-Cold47

Casa de cadillac, Sherman oaks48

Vintage Signage - casa de cadillac. sherman oaks, ca. 1995.49

prcssd. las vegas, nv. 200750

Vintage Signage - prcssd. las vegas, nv. 200751

The Palms Motor Hotel52
Portland, Oregon.

Vintage Signage - The Palms Motor Hotel53

Lights for Liquor54

Vintage Signage - Lights for Liquor55

route 66. seligman, az. 200756

Vintage Signage - route 66. seligman, az. 2007.57

Bubbles58

Vintage Signage - Bubbles59

Parkside60
Parkside Candies in Amherst, NY.

Vintage Signage - Parkside61

Krispy Kreme in Kolor62
Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN.

Vintage Signage - Krispy Kreme in Kolor63

Carling Black Label Beer64
Albany, GA; Oglethorpe Lounge.

Vintage Signage - Carling Black Label Beer65

South Haven66

Vintage Signage - south haven67

Last Click Link

route 66. hackberry, az. 2007.

Vintage Signage - route 66. hackberry, az. 2007.

Uncle Jer’s68
Great side wall signage for Uncle Jer’s on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles doing business since 1978.

Vintage Signage - Uncle Jer's69

Chubbie’s70

Vintage Signage - Chubbie's71

R.I.P. Zipperhead72
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. Zipperhead73

>>> Moving Forward >>>74

Vintage Signage - Moving Forward75

Flickr Groups Link

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 Link

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Footnotes Link

  1. 1 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/60-rare-and-unusual-vintage-signs/
  2. 2 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/09/the-beauty-of-public-signage-photo-contest-results/
  3. 3 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/shop-and-store-signs-part-1/
  4. 4 http://www.flickr.com/photos/russelldavies/3485806126/
  5. 5 http://www.flickr.com/photos/russelldavies/3485806126/
  6. 6 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/264014748/in/set-72157603448582705/
  7. 7 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/264014748/in/set-72157603448582705/
  8. 8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/macwagen/2296389574/
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/macwagen/2296389574/
  10. 10 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trudence/46266213/
  11. 11 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trudence/46266213/
  12. 12 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1307420603/
  13. 13 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1307420603/
  14. 14 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/236605229/
  15. 15 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/236605229/
  16. 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidsimmons/3869330012/
  17. 17 http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidsimmons/3869330012/
  18. 18 http://www.flickr.com/photos/seanportfolio/3431403029/
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/seanportfolio/3431403029/
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4166543593/
  21. 21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4166543593/
  22. 22 http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoralnick/3330193607/
  23. 23 http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoralnick/3330193607/
  24. 24 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mondoagogo/2774501889/
  25. 25 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mondoagogo/2774501889/
  26. 26 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eriwst/4236140391/in/pool-355438@N24
  27. 27 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eriwst/4236140391/in/pool-355438@N24
  28. 28 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregturner/2223239380/
  29. 29 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregturner/2223239380/
  30. 30 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bundscherer/2879022271/
  31. 31 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bundscherer/2879022271/
  32. 32 http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyshooter/2471905619/
  33. 33 http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyshooter/2471905619/
  34. 34 http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomuchfire/3879137766/
  35. 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomuchfire/3879137766/
  36. 36 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1878028866/
  37. 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/detroitderek/1878028866/
  38. 38 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/131656510/
  39. 39 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/131656510/
  40. 40 http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/2133401621/
  41. 41 http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/2133401621/
  42. 42 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/83934855/in/set-1792740/
  43. 43 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/83934855/in/set-1792740/
  44. 44 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmeadows2/2850088363/
  45. 45 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmeadows2/2850088363/
  46. 46 http://www.flickr.com/photos/anselolson/3503207722/
  47. 47 http://www.flickr.com/photos/anselolson/3503207722/
  48. 48 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/2639726575/
  49. 49 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/2639726575/
  50. 50 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/939722769/
  51. 51 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/939722769/
  52. 52 http://www.flickr.com/photos/curtisperry/2810776412/
  53. 53 http://www.flickr.com/photos/curtisperry/2810776412/
  54. 54 http://www.flickr.com/photos/33237475@N05/3205178833/
  55. 55 http://www.flickr.com/photos/33237475@N05/3205178833/
  56. 56 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/470796408/
  57. 57 http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyetwist/470796408/
  58. 58 http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeioux/55162284/
  59. 59 http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeioux/55162284/
  60. 60 http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardsmallbone/1737794385/
  61. 61 http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardsmallbone/1737794385/
  62. 62 http://www.flickr.com/photos/shani_stuff/430960731/
  63. 63 http://www.flickr.com/photos/shani_stuff/430960731/
  64. 64 http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/1772426024/
  65. 65 http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/1772426024/
  66. 66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dystopos/13891569/
  67. 67 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dystopos/13891569/
  68. 68 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4204189318/
  69. 69 http://www.flickr.com/photos/7623944@N03/4204189318/
  70. 70 http://www.flickr.com/photos/43067379@N00/3455678972/
  71. 71 http://www.flickr.com/photos/43067379@N00/3455678972/
  72. 72 http://www.flickr.com/photos/spikyone/2256360958/
  73. 73 http://www.flickr.com/photos/spikyone/2256360958/
  74. 74 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lavidasegunseba/2973547227/
  75. 75 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lavidasegunseba/2973547227/
  76. 76 http://www.flickr.com/groups/fadedsignage/
  77. 77 http://www.flickr.com/groups/sanjosevintagesignage/
  78. 78 http://www.flickr.com/groups/signage_typography/
  79. 79 http://www.flickr.com/groups/vintageneon/
  80. 80 http://www.flickr.com/groups/ilovesigns/
  81. 81 http://www.flickr.com/groups/motelhotelsigns/
  82. 82 http://www.flickr.com/groups/vintagetexaco/
  83. 83 http://www.flickr.com/groups/plastic_signs/
  84. 84 http://www.flickr.com/groups/liquorstores/
  85. 85 http://www.flickr.com/groups/372089@N25
  86. 86 http://www.rightathome.com/view.aspx?pid=717
  87. 87 http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/07/50-examples-of-vintage-typography/
  88. 88 http://spyrestudios.com/insane-vintage-and-grungy-typographic-poster-designs/
  89. 89 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/26/retro-and-vintage-typography-showcase/
  90. 90 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/13/60-rare-and-unusual-vintage-signs/
  91. 91 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/07/retro-and-vintage-in-modern-web-design/
  92. 92 https://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.

  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

    Tina Bell Vance

    January 8, 2010 6:42 am

    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

      Callum Chapman

      January 8, 2010 8:09 am

      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

      Callum Chapman

      January 8, 2010 8:09 am

      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

    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
  11. 15

    Awesome collection!

    0
  12. 16
  13. 17

    great photos. love the vintage signs!!!

    0
  14. 18

    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.

    0
  15. 19

    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
  16. 20
  17. 21

    rustyshackleford

    January 9, 2010 12:42 am

    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.

    0
  18. 22

    Legend!

    0
  19. 23

    No Coca-Cola signs? Missed a good opportunity…

    0
  20. 25

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

    0
  21. 26

    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.

    0
  22. 27

    Milan Bandić

    January 10, 2010 3:06 pm

    Ivo Josipovic is new president of Croatia, congratulations…

    Heil Red Croatia!

    0
  23. 28

    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
  24. 29

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

    0
  25. 30

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

    0
  26. 31

    Awesome collection! I love the ants!

    0
  27. 32

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

    0
  28. 33

    Oh, this is so nicely nice. :’3

    0
  29. 34

    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
  30. 35

    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
  31. 36

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

    0
  32. 37

    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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