Signs Austin | Signs Go Beyond


Effective signs go beyond their physical presence and enter the viewers psyche.  Signs represent brands but also evoke emotion.  If your tire is running flat, seeing a Shell station sign can bring a sense of relief.  Many times when we think of a specific place we think of their sign.  For instance when I say the word “Hollywood” the iconic sign is the first thing that comes to mind.  Recently we had a client who was opening up a new restaurant but wanted the new restaurant to have a nostalgic feeling.  How does one create a feeling using a sign?  First, we needed to find out what period of sign the client was looking for.  They were thinking about a 1960’s outdoor Texas BBQ joint.  To complete their style and evoke this feeling we looked to a local sign maker here in Austin who specializes is re-creating period pieces. 

Neon Sign


Roadhouse Relics is a local Austin vendor who makes period looking signs.  While most consider their work art, it can also be used in commercial settings.  Todd Sanders, of Roadhouse Relics, has perfected the art of paint striation to match the weathered looks clients’ desire.  The aged or weathered look evokes the nostalgic feeling.  While the restaurant is new, the sign makes the customer feel like it has been there for over forty years. 

Finding the right color, materials and look will allow a sign to evoke desired feelings from its viewer.  Achieving this look will extend your signs function from form to feeling.


  1. I enjoyed Mr. Humphries’ article. I would like to enlarge on his thoughts of a sign “going beyond it’s physical presence”. A sign is the first physical experience a customer has with any enterprise. It is an interface between the customer and the business encounter he is seeking. If the intuitive experience of the sign does not match the actual experience with that business, the customer will feel misled and alienated. When that happens, it no longer matters how clever the sign is or how solid the business is. The customer experiences what is tantamount to being lied to. Having a retro sign does not mean that the experience itself will be retro or feel “period”. The customer’s intuitive experience of the sign needs to match their new knowledge of the place of business. Their actual encounter should maintain and expand on what the signage has led them to expect. If the research has been thorough and all the elements have been well considered, the sign will alert, advertise, accent and integrate with the activity within. The customer feels intelligent and gratified that the business surpasses the message on the sign. That adds to the business’ reputation for integrity. Trust is built and the customer will return.

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