Thursday, March 17, 2016

"An Oasis of Ascenders, Ampersands, and Slab Serifs"

Outside the lovely city of Las Vegas, surrounded by desert, is a typographer's dream. And this dream is The Neon Boneyard; a two-acre Museum which is home to over 250 historic signs. It is home to the most famous signs of Las Vegas, which include: Caesars Palace, Binion's Horseshoe, the Golden Nugget, The Stardust, Palms Casino Resort, New-New York, Lady Luck and O'Shea's.

Each of these signs have been donated or loaned by individuals, businesses or sign companies. The biggest contributor is a major sign manufacturer, YESCO. These ‘boneyards’ would house discarded signage to be used for their source parts or “bones” in the creation of newer, updated signage. As projects grew in scale, the sign makers could no longer house the volume of leftover signs and they began shipping used marquees straight to the dump. An outraged public, the Nevada Arts Council and YESCO stepped in to preserve the neon markers of Vegas past.

The signs' ages range from the 1930's to present day. And these typographic sculptures are tangible history of technology, industry, style, entertainment, pop culture, and most of all: design. You have the to experience of what it feels like to stand beneath a seventy-foot tall initial and to see up close the curves of a signature made of sheet metal. 

"It’s hard not to be impressed by the physicality, craft, and art-form in the construction and precise details of every letter. Aside from the craft, you’ll see up-close letterforms that are so unusual, but reflective of an eclectic history that is now only barely captured in design books."

The Neon Museum can be visited 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can guide yourself through or sign up for a hour long guided tour.


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