There are signs we pass and ignore and those that live long in the memory. Sometimes it’s the sheer quirkiness that creates the impact, other times it’s what the sign represents rather than any aesthetic appeal.
Here’s a list of our favourite famous signs around the globe.
The Hollywood Sign
Probably one of the most photographed signs in the world, these 9 letters loom over the world capital of film from its vantage point on Mount Lee. It originally read Hollywoodland and was part of a real estate advertisement started in 1923. The letters are 30 feet wide and 43 feet tall and the sign was only supposed to up for a year and a half, only later became closely associated to the burgeoning film industry.
Probably not as famous as it once was, the Penny Lane sign became a mecca for many Beatles fans during the 60s and 70s. Located in Liverpool, it’s where legends Paul McCartney and John Lennon used to catch the bus to school. After the song first came out, the local council had to constantly replace the signs as fans tended to steal them as mementos.
One of the most iconic signs in London represents the underground. The red circle with the dark blue central band is seen all across the city and you can even buy your own originals from the transport authority. The roundel was created by Edward Johnston in about 1925 and has since become an integral part of the landscape.
Moulin Rouge, Paris
The most fashionable theatre in the world at one point, the Moulin Rouge became home to the can-can dance and was a meeting point for many of the city’s artists at the turn of the 20th century. The classic windmill and sign came to symbolise extravagant shows and was associated with absinthe, a green liqueur considered as dangerous as cocaine at the time.
For anyone who’s ever wanted to travel across America, the Route 66 sign is emblematic of that sense of freedom and being out on the open road. Built in the mid-twenties, the original route covered nearly 4,000 miles from Illinois to California. It’s not only one of the most travelled roads in the world, it’s also one of the most sung about.
The signpost at Lands’ End in Cornwall has been around since the early 50s and marks the most southwestern point of Britain. It’s visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year and is linked to John O’Groats, the northernmost point on mainland Scotland.
No list would be complete without the ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada’ sign which was designed by Betty Willis in 1959 when the town was barely just a few hotels on a strip of desert road. Surrounded by neon lighting, it came to symbolise the brash, exciting gambling capital in a way that no one could have expected.
Platform 9 ¾
Finally, one of the most recent but popular signs found at King’s Cross Station is also fictitious. The Platform 9 ¾ sign, of course, is a reference to Harry Potter and had to be moved from its original location because of too much interest from tourists.