A brief history of signage and the people that make them!

Signage has been a vital part of human communication for centuries, guiding and informing individuals throughout their daily lives. From our caveman days to the 21st century, sign makers have played a crucial role in creating professional signs and bespoke signage that captivate attention, direct, and sell.

Join us for a journey through time as we explore the incredible history of signage and the clever people who create them - sign makers!

When was signage first used?

Many historians believe signage started with the ancient Greeks and Romans, where signs were used to identify trading stalls, advertise goods and provide directions. The earliest signs were handcrafted from things like wood and stone. These signs would often use imagery to portray a message, due to the vast amount of illiteracy among the population.

These skilled artists, known as sign makers, were highly regarded for their excellent craftsmanship in creating signs that stood out in a crowded marketplace. As time went on, signage imagery became more elaborate. Colourful paintings and even gold engravings were used on professional signs to direct and attract!

talbooth hanging signage infront of building made by esign professional signs

14th-17th centuries

During the Renaissance period, a golden age for artists, sign makers became extremely popular. Because of this, they received a surge in demand.

This period is when bespoke signage makers developed and evolved their skills, combining traditional techniques with emerging artistic styles to create stunning bespoke signage that showcased their expertise.

As the Renaissance unfolded, the appreciation for art, culture and aesthetic grew. The demand for signage that not only conveyed messages and directions but held beauty and sophistication encouraged professional sign makers to explore new designs and new materials. The bespoke signage we know today began here.


The intervention of electricity in the 1800s marked the beginning of the biggest evolution in professional signs' history.

It was during this period that the idea of incorporating a lightbulb into bespoke signage emerged, revolutionising the visibility, aesthetic and overall quality of signage, still to this very day.

The ability to illuminate signs at night opened up new possibilities, designs and ideas, and allowed businesses to grab attention at all times. These became especially popular with nighttime clubs, cinemas, and 24-hour shops.

In 1907, plastic was invented. This brought a dramatic shift in the mass production of signage. With this newfound material, the process of creating signs became faster and more cost-effective. This gave professional sign makers the ability to create mass amounts of affordable signage and distribute it far and wide. As a result, businesses of all sizes were able to make use of the brilliant marketing tool which is signage.

image of illuminated signage in the dark made by esign professional signs

The digital age

The digital revolution transformed the sign-making industry. The invention of large-format printers and high-tech machines enabled professional sign makers to produce stunning and complex designs with ease.

This revolution created a rise in the demand for bespoke signage. Businesses seeking unique, personalised and bespoke signage that aligns with their brand identity could now purchase this at an affordable rate.

Choose Esign - the best professional signs makers in town - for your bespoke signage

The history of signage and the artistry of sign makers have evolved hand in hand, adapting to the changing times and technologies. Today, signage continues to provide businesses, small and large, with effective 24/7 advertisement, as well as providing amazing directional and wayfinding signage across the country.

Here at Esign, our exceptional team continues to embrace this legacy of innovation and craftsmanship in every sign we create. With cutting-edge technologies and a commitment to excellence, we strive to create impactful and visually stunning signs that capture attention, drive engagement, and help businesses thrive in 2023. Our high-quality signage empowers businesses in an increasingly competitive world. Check out our range of signage solutions.

Whatever kind of bespoke signage you require, Esign is here to deliver. Contact us today and let us be your trusted partner in the world of signage.