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You only have to do a Google search for “neon” and it quickly becomes clear that it’s a huge trend. Bright neon colours can create a beautiful, eye-catching effect that is hard to replicate through other means, making it a popular go-to for those hoping to create a bit of retro nostalgia whether it’s through interior design or fashion. While fluorescent shades are nothing new, it seems we have a newfound appreciation for it, in many different aspects of our lives.
Neon signs first emerged in the early 1900s, with the gas itself being discovered in 1898. A French engineer, chemist and inventor known as Georges Claude was the first to create a sign using the noble gas, and displayed it to the public at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Since then, they became a popular way to advertise businesses; the vibrant light was visible even in the daytime, and it quickly caught on.
Neon signs came to America in the 1920s and elaborate displays became more common; notably in Las Vegas through the 1940s and 1950s. It wasn’t until the 1960s when they experienced a decline in popularity.
Neon signs soon became associated with seedy bars and motels. There are stories that the Red Light district in Amsterdam actually received its name from the signs that highlighted the windows in the area. It is perhaps for this reason that they took a brief downturn in popularity!
Over the last few years, neon has experienced a notable comeback across a number of industries. From TV sets to weddings, neon signs have become popular again in advertising, decoration and personalised gifts. Whether it’s a commercial or domestic use, the signs are used to transform spaces and create an eye-catching visual design for many different purposes.
Its retro appearance has become incredibly sought after, but it’s not just signs that do the trick. Last year, it was noted that neon was the season’s must-have trend in the fashion industry. Embracing bold, statement looks in bright shades of pink, yellow and green, the likes of Kim Kardashian and other popular celebs were spotted wearing it.
It seems as though 80s fashion is back in a big way; and it still isn’t going anywhere; tie-dye prints, shoulder pads and of course neon is still prevalent across some of the largest fashion houses in the world.
In a similar trend, neon has continued to infiltrate our homes and places of work, resulting in a retro-modern vibe that is almost impossible to create with other pieces of art. Neon signs for your office or your living room are continuing to be a unique way of decorating, providing a beautifully visual space. Whether it’s a personal quote, family name, branding or a motif, it works perfectly when displayed in bright lights!
As people continue to search for unique ways to express themselves through interior design, artwork of this kind has taken on a very personal approach. Artists like Tracey Emin have opened up the idea of using neon in place of other traditional art forms, allowing both businesses and individuals to experiment in order to create an inimitable visual display.