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No matter where you go in the world, chances are you’ll find something neon. From bar signs to priceless artwork, neon is a tool that bends to the will of its creator to make numerous beautiful outcomes that inspire, guide and attract worldwide. Here are just some of the most famous uses of neon signage that we love.
When it comes to neon signage, you don’t get much more iconic than the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign. Created in 1959, this living monument to the history of neon has welcomed visitors to Las Vegas for over 58 years and is still going strong to this day. Alongside the neon ‘welcome’ message, the lights surrounding the sign itself are removed and replaced periodically, with the old bulbs sold as valuable souvenirs.
Another American staple, Vegas Vic was renowned as one of the most popular shaped neon signs of all time, advertising The Pioneer Club casino. Rather than using neon to illuminate simple signage or design work, Vic is a fully formed cowboy figure created with various coloured neon lights, with ‘moving’ parts such as a moving cigarette, a waving arm and a less subtle ‘HOWDY PARDNER’ recording designed to play every 15 minutes.
Though America may be considered the heartland of many unusual historical signs and designs, Europe certainly had their ideas of how to use neon for effective advertising. The world-renowned Moulin Rouge (‘Red Mill’) was built in 1889 as a cabaret venue and featured vibrant red signage that evolved over the years to match the famous building’s ‘red’ theme. A classic design of letters, shaped to match the building, and highlights showing off the famous windmill gave a glamorous feel to the venue.
If you’ve ever visited the Dōtombori–dori area of Osaka, Japan, you will have noticed the towering neon sign of the Glico Man. Now over 70 years old, this classic advertising campaign featuring an athlete in a victory pose abstractly advertises Glico’s confectionary products. Though out of place with the modern lights around it, the Glico Man is a local treasure and beloved by visitors and locals alike. Here are some of the world's largest neon signs.