There’s never been a better time to take a road trip across the United States! Even if you don’t go all the way across the country, why not explore the states near yours?
There’s one sure-fire way to know you’ve crossed a state border: the state welcome sign. You probably know that different states design their signs to look and feel unique, but what they choose to emphasize about a given region varies a lot.
For instance, while most of the state signs are made with a rectangular shape, some of them use odder materials or contours (like Montana!). Every state’s unique industries, economies, and culture make it distinct, but how do they choose to represent their histories with inviting signage? Let’s take a closer look at a few states to see they use their histories and culture to appeal to visiting drivers.
Since Bartush is based in PA, it’s a great place to start. You’re probably old enough to remember those initial “You’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania” license plates. In the past few years, the state has adopted a new slogan that delivers a new, positive message to those entering the great commonwealth:
“Pennsylvania. Pursue Your Happiness.”
According to Rich Kirkpatrick, the spokesman for PennDOR, the uplifting slogan ties directly into Pennsylvania’s legacy. It strongly relates to the quote from the Declaration of Independence, signed in Philadelphia, which officials say still captures the spirit of the state’s history. After all, Pennsylvania has always been a cradle of U.S. life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Considering the state’s geography of landscapes and people — including its abundance of fresh produce and southern comfort food — it’s unsurprising that the famous musician Ray Charles sang passionately about Georgia being on his mind. While it may have been about a woman with the same name, we like to think the passion of the music is in line with the state’s culture too. It just so happens that the Georgia state welcome sign combines the region’s traditional peach image along with a snippet of those unforgettable lyrics so that visitors know they’re driving down a road that, in Charles’ words, lead back to this place.
To keep the music relation going between great signage and state cultures, Alabama’s “Welcome to Sweet Home Alabama” road sign recently supplanted the previous design to better showcase everyone’s favorite song about the south. Before the change, the sign read “Welcome to Alabama the beautiful” — which is also consistent with the state’s striking countryside, but it doesn’t quite bring the same pleasure as being part of a great song) in the same way. And here’s a fun fact: that Lynyrd Skynyrd track on the new signs debuted all the way back in 1974!
While the first things about Nevada that probably come to your mind are bright neon lights, high-stakes gambling, and late-night entertainment, there’s also a lot more to the history history of businesses and local lifestyles.The historical pulse of this desert environment has more in common with a traditionally simpler American life: cattle ranches, red stone quarries, and night skies packed with endless stars. We really love the way the Nevada welcome sign presents this often-forgotten history with its elegant and simple design: the silhouette of a cowboy and some unique desert flora included as part of the State’s name text.
If you don’t already own one, you’ve probably seen a keychain, clothing, or mug displaying the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign. As with anything that keeps the greater public’s attention, there’s a local history with these signs that have been welcoming motorists to Colorado for decades so they can catch a photo with it.
“Colorful Colorado” is famous as a slogan, and the state’s welcome signs offer a fun, antiquated font with a unique, rustic appearance that evokes barns and old-school taverns. Here’s a fun fact too: each of these signs weighs in at a whopping 150 pounds with over 40distributed across the state!