A recent trip to Warsaw in Poland involved lots of Pierogi, vodka that’ll really put hairs on your chest and, enjoyably, a big bunch of Cold War era neons. Tucked away in the Soho Factory complex, the city’s Neon Museum has been shining since 2005, when Ilona Karwinska and David Hill began their researching and collecting of Soviet era neons.. signs which embody and exemplify Poland’s more culturally and economically flexible style of Communism in the years after Stalin popped his clogs. This exciting, daring and bold art form captivated designers and artists of the day, resulting in a boom of neon goodness and a treasure trove for lovers of the bright lights.
As a creative agency, we love a bit of neon signage and so, inspired by this illuminating trip to Warsaw, we’ve collected a few of our favourites…. some our own creation and others we just think are pretty cool. Neon, if not quite ubiquitous, has certainly become a firm favourite once more for designers of cafes, bars and restaurants who’re looking to inject a spot of edge and cool-factor into their venues. When done poorly it can be cold and shallow; when done well it can add character, enhance the brand and add that all important Instagrammable sheen that’s now part and parcel of so many hospitality builds.
What shape to use? A perspex case or a metal cage? With botany or brick? Quirky phrase or ironic chat? Pearly white or shocking pink? Just some of the questions to chew over when creating a neon, here’s some of our favourites:
Neon can be a great way to re-inforce your brand and make it stand out form the crowd. Think it through, don’t throw up neon for neon’s sake and really consider the best content… often a logo is the least effective way of expressing your brand values and character. A snappy bit of copy, a great quote or a few words which capture the spirit of what you do are far more likely to make people smile, engage with your business and be tempted to whip out that over-priced smart phone and PR your brand on their Instagram page.