Wall Graphics from Starfish Signs & Graphics

The Evolution of Lobby Signs

Regardless of your industry, a lobby sign is an important part of your business. A well-executed lobby sign has the potential to show your company’s vibrancy and character. It can make you memorable to clients, and it can distinguish you from your competition. But by the same token, a lackluster lobby sign can make your company seem boring and dated, and fail to distinguish you from the rest of the pack.

The concept of the lobby sign is not something that is new. Over the years, the design of lobby signage has evolved to reflect the aesthetic of the time, and the message each company is trying to convey.


lobby sign 1900

Signs in the early 1900s, such as this one, capture the ornate, elegance of the time. The touch of ornate ironwork at the top, along with the coat of arms, convey the idea of sophistication that this company wished to associate with its tea.


lobby sign 1920s

The 20s ushered in a period full of luxury, glamor, rapid industrialism and progress in the post-war era. Many more people were interested in visiting new places and trying new things, and it was up to the signage of each business to help educate the newly invigorated populace about what each business had to offer them. The enormous Art Deco lobby sign in the entrance of the Empire State Building captures the sentiment of the time perfectly.



Once again sparked by economic growth following a World War, the 50s were a period that saw rapid growth of the middle class, and with it, a growth in capitalism and consumerism. Advertising became a huge influence in culture, encouraging people to buy new things. Signage businesses sought to sell the consumer market on the experience that awaited them within each business. This resort lobby sign aims to convey not just the name of the resort, but also the rich experience that awaits within.



The 1960s was a period of change, bringing about social progress and greater individual freedoms. Another important component was the increasing globalization of the world economy. With space exploration dominating the minds of many people during the decade, it was important for businesses and companies to show that they were global and innovative. While this lobby globe is a literal interpretation of the idea of globalization, the Mid-Century Modern design, emphasizing simplicity and symmetry, captured the contemporary function and chic style.


lobby sign 1980

The computing revolution that changed the direction of the business world took place largely in the 1980s, and it marked the emergence of the “tech company” vibe. Computing companies, like Apple, featured above, wanted to seem welcoming, cutting edge, and accessible. These lobby signs marked a break from the increasingly rigid corporate signage pattern. Signage like this ushered in the era where people could feel that companies truly understood them.


illuminated brushed aluminum high impact lobby sign

As with so many aspects of culture, the biggest marquee of signage in the present time is the idea of customization. In the present day, we believe that every business has a different message to share and a different style to convey. At Starfish Signs, we work with you to make sure that your sign design is unique and personal, and most importantly, that it conveys your identity perfectly to your clients and visitors.

Let’s Get Started!

There is no end to the signage capabilities we have to offer you—we can design with nearly any material. We love to be creative with shape, texture, material, and even use of lighting. Check out our portfolio to see some of the interesting, creative signs we have made and installed. And if you’d like to learn about what we can do to bring your business’s signage up to date, contact us for a free quote.  Or better yet, call us at 949-249-6700 and ask for a free one-to-one session with a designer.  We’d love to learn about your project ideas, and help you translate them to reality.