Route-66 Era Signage Retains Its Life as a Cultural Art Form

By: Alessandra Babock

Route 66: most people scratch their heads at the concept of following a two-lane highway more than halfway across the United States. Modern interstate highways with their seventy-mile per hour speed limits and multiple lanes heading in each direction, they argue, provide for far faster trips.

It's true. Speeding from one state to the next does get you to your destination far more quickly. But, for those who have traveled Route 66 - whether for its entire length from Chicago to St. Louis, to Tulsa and Oklahoma City, to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, to Flagstaff and finally Los Angeles or merely portions of the highway - one thing is certain: road signs along an interstate highway just can't compare to those along Route 66.

Rather than billboards advertising fast food restaurants, affordable hotel rooms and a chance to fill up your gas tank, road signs along Route 66 are distinctive - artistic - and easy to recognize.

With bright colors that both blend with and stand out from the landscape and bold fonts, road signs along Route 66 immediately catch your eye. The same can be said for signs advertising motels along the way - signs like the one for the Blue Swallow Motel in New Mexico - that spans the motel entryway, lights up so that they can be seen in the night from the road, and leave room for adding a personalized message or details about a promotion.

Just as motels use these signs to attract drivers' attention, so do cafes and other businesses along the way. Road signs along Route 66 accomplish far more than merely providing information; road signs along Route 66 have become iconic. Some people regard road signs along Route 66 as a form of modern art. Road signs along Route 66 also bring with them a sense of nostalgia for a more simple time and age.

Many have long recognized the artistic quality of Route 66 road signs. Whether people have seen the iconic road signs during their own trips along Route 66 or merely in films or photos, most can identify the signs as a vital part of the art and culture of the United States.

It's because of this that many art consultants and interior designers consider images of Route 66 road signs when their clients are looking for a distinct way of marketing their businesses. Art consultants and interior designers who are advising clients to find simple and effective ways of adding color to their offices often suggest framed photo prints of signs originally found - or that have been inspired by those originals - along Route 66.

These prints are eye-catching and attention grabbing as they are. Route 66 inspired wall art that depict a sports-theme go well in a child's room. Pieces that work from photos of movie theaters and drive-ins along Route 66 are ideal for home theater decorating.

Signs from bowling alleys and pool halls are ideal for adding flair to in home game rooms, family rooms and recreational rooms. Similarly, those signs for diners and barbecue pits along the way fit well in the kitchen - providing a conversation piece as well as a lively piece of art.

Because Route 66 inspired signs can serve so many purposes in the home or office, many have found the prints to be an essential element for bringing class and pizzazz to their wall decor. Many folks have also found that the prints can be altered and personalized to suit a particular occasion or person. Imagine giving a print of a Route 66 inspired road sign depicting a wedding chapel that includes the bride and groom's names on the billboard, as a unique wedding gift.

Similarly, these signs are frequently custom-tailored to be given as corporate gifts. When you give art inspired by Route 66 road signs as corporate gifts, you can be sure that your clients will love it - that the piece will receive a place of honor - and your clients can be reminded to remember your company, when they need your products or services again.

No matter what the occasion, and no matter who the recipient is - a friend, a family member, a business associate, an adult or a child - art inspired by Route 66 roadside signs prove to be a great gift. By providing color, a sense of nostalgia and a dash of Americana, this art does more than hang on a wall - it shows us where we've come from and where we're going.

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Alessandra Babock writes about the history of the Western USA. FantaSigns Customized Art specializes in the creation of Unique Art for your home or office. Many of their designs incorporate signage from Las Vegas and the Route 66 of the 1960's. The FantaSigns wall decor allows you to place custom messages on the signs within the design. These prints even help Art Consultants deliver superior value to their clients.

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