Faux Neon, Nostalgia for the Modern Age

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A ubiquitous fixture of the modernism that drove the 20th century forward was neon signage. Even now, its soft glow romanticizes a nostalgia that can often seem lost amongst the skyscrapers, billboards, and digitization of our world⁠—bringing the observer back to a time of diners, theatres, and art deco, a time capsule of the 40s and 50s.

Unfortunately for neon signage, that romanticism is one of its only selling points. Rising power costs turned the signs that once stood as monuments to the future into flickering relics of the past, while newer technology eclipsed the relatively limited capabilities of traditional neon signage. The constant maintenance and upkeep required⁠—repairing burnouts, tubing refills only able to be done by costly professionals, and high voltage requirements⁠—make neon signage often troublesome, or just not feasible for larger projects on relatively limited budgets.

Luckily, those same changes that pushed neon towards obsolescence opened the door for newer, better alternatives. A faux neon sign, with a neon-style structure lit by LEDs, allows for a more versatile, less expensive, and safer alternative that preserves the look and feel of classic neon signage. Faux neon is more durable, easier to install, and uses less power while giving off less heat. Coupled with the nearly eliminated ongoing cost of maintenance⁠—with LEDs only requiring replacement after over a decade, rather than the more routine refilling of gasses in neon signage⁠—the lower long term operating cost of a faux neon installation is far more cost-effective than a traditional neon one. Moreover, LEDs provide the ability for the lighting to be controlled, dimmed, or flashed in ways not possible for traditional neon.

Overall, faux neon is a perfect pairing of the versatility, cost-effectiveness, and safety of LEDs with the impact, and aesthetic appeal of traditional neon signage. At Hi Signs, we work with you to find the right fit for every project. We focus on using our experience and expertise to give you the signage that you need, helping you explore the avenues that might not be immediately apparent⁠—avenues like faux neon.

by Ethan Franz

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