The History of Interior Signage: From Ancient Times to Modern Day Design Trends

Interior signage has been essential in human communication and wayfinding for thousands of years. From ancient times to the modern day, the use of interior signs has evolved and changed to meet the needs of society. In this blog post, we will explore the history of interior signage, from its earliest origins to the latest design trends.

The Earliest Signs of Interior Signage

The earliest signs of interior signage date back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In these societies, signs were used to indicate the purpose of a building, such as a temple or a marketplace. The signs were often made of stone or clay and depicted images of the gods or goddesses associated with the building.

In medieval Europe, signs were used to identify shops and businesses. The signs were often hung outside the building and were designed to be easily recognizable to people who could not read. The signs were usually made of wood or metal and featured a pictorial representation of the business, such as a boot for a shoemaker or a fish for a fishmonger.

The Rise of Advertising and Commercial Signage

In the 19th century, the rise of advertising and commercial signage led to the developing of new techniques and materials for creating signs. Advances in printing technology allowed for the mass production of signs, which increased their use for advertising and marketing purposes.

During this time, signs became more elaborate and decorative, using bright colors and eye-catching designs. Neon signs also became popular in the early 20th century, adding a new visual impact to interior signage.

The Importance of Wayfinding and Navigation

In the 20th century, wayfinding and navigation in interior spaces became increasingly important. Interior signage was no longer just about advertising and marketing but also about helping people find their way around complex buildings and spaces.

Developing new materials, such as plastics and vinyl, allows for the creation of durable and versatile signage that can be easily updated and replaced. Signage also became more standardized, using universally recognized symbols and fonts to convey information.

Modern-Day Design Trends

Today, interior signage continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of society. The use of digital technology has revolutionized the way we create and display signage, with the ability to create dynamic and interactive displays that engage and inform.

One of the biggest design trends in modern interior signage is minimalism and simplicity. Clean lines, bold typography, and simple graphics convey information clearly and concisely. The use of natural materials, such as wood and stone, is also becoming more popular, adding a sense of warmth and authenticity to interior spaces.

The Future of Interior Signage

The future of interior signage is an exciting and rapidly evolving field, with new technologies and materials being developed to enhance the user experience and reduce the environmental impact of signage. Augmented reality and sustainability are two significant trends likely to shape interior signage’s future.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that overlays digital information onto the physical world, creating a hybrid environment that combines the best of both worlds. AR has already been used in advertising and marketing campaigns, but it also has excellent potential for use in interior signage.

AR can be used to create immersive and interactive signage experiences that engage and inform users. For example, a museum could use AR to create virtual exhibits triggered by physical signage, allowing visitors to explore exhibits more interactively and engagingly. AR can also provide real-time information and updates, such as directions or event schedules, overlaid with physical signage.

As AR technology advances, we will likely see more innovative and creative uses of AR in interior signage. AR has the potential to transform the way we interact with and navigate through interior spaces, creating a more seamless and immersive experience.


Sustainability is another trend that will likely shape interior signage’s future. As businesses and consumers become more aware of their actions impact on the environment, there is increasing pressure to reduce the environmental footprint of signage.

One way to achieve this is through eco-friendly materials and production processes. For example, some companies use recycled materials, such as reclaimed wood or recycled plastics, to create interior signage. Others use renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, to power their production facilities.

Another way to reduce the environmental impact of signage is through digital signage. Digital signage eliminates the need for physical materials, such as paper or plastic, and can be easily updated and changed without creating waste.

As sustainability becomes an increasingly important consideration in the design and production of interior signage, we will likely see more companies adopting eco-friendly practices and materials. This will not only benefit the environment but also create a more positive image for businesses that are committed to sustainability.


The history of interior signage is a fascinating journey through human communication and wayfinding. From the earliest signs of ancient civilizations to the latest design trends of the modern day, interior signage has evolved and adapted to meet the needs of society.

As we look to the future, it is clear that interior signage will continue to play an essential role in communication and navigation. Whether through digital technology or incorporating sustainable materials, the evolution of interior signage will surely be an exciting and innovative journey.

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