Signs History

Here is some Signs History

Here at Budget Banners we now offer custom signs to standard signage!

It’s hard to say when the first sign was made in the signs history as we have been using visuals to indicate things since the stone ages, where people would make markings on stones using stones, these in its self are signs. To indicate all kinds of things, directions, information, messages, the list is endless.

Signs then became more for advertising purposes, and were painted or carved into various materials in order for shops or inns to indicate their daily specials, or just indicate the location of their premises.

In ancient Egypt and Roman signs were primarily made up of stone and terracotta. Many Roman signs were preserved, amongst these was the infamous bush sign that was widely used to indicate the local taverns. This is where the proverb “Good wine needs no bush “comes from.

As time went on signs became identified with certain trades, for instance the cross became a well-known sign for Christians. In the same way the sun and the moon sign became an openly known symbol for pagans. People were able to identify these signs and know it was a place they either where looking for or were not. Who knew that signs history can be this interesting?


In 1389 King Richard II of England, was the first king in recorded history to make it a law to have certain sign erected outside certain tradesman’s premises, so that passing inspectors could easily identify their premises. The law stated “Whosoever shall brew ale in the town with intention of selling it must hang out a sign, otherwise he shall forfeit his ale.” This legislation was to put in place to ensure the quality of ale was to standard, as water was not always to standard so ale was the next best thing. Making inspection of it crucial to insure sicknesses were not widely spread.

As time went on and towns grew bigger and there was more tradesmen in certain trades, they needed to find ways for people to distinguish between the different brands. Generally back then tradesmen were known by their names, so they created signs to better explain their names, this was known as rebus. An example of this is two cocks for the name Cox. This way people were able to differentiate between the different tradesmen and their locations.

As the centuries have gone by, signage has changed and evolved into a huge field. With signs and signboards used for so many things, like bathrooms, smoking, isle naming, store fronts, the list is endless. Without signage we would be lost, it would take us hours to get between destinations, or to simply find a store or even a toilet. Signs have been a part of history for centuries and will only continue to be relevant and useful.

I hope you enjoyed reading our signs history and found a liking to them!

Visit our signs page or contact us for more information. Budget Banners has the sign for you!