Everyone is familiar with the use of branding in our modern day culture. The logo of businesses can become a part of the mainstream and easily recognized around the world. A common thought links Signs and emblems with savvy marketing strategies. When commercialism began to rise, we saw an enormous boom in advertising departments. While some industry experts may feel as if they have revolutionized business campaigns, Pub Signs actually put this concept in fruition hundreds of years beforehand.
How Pub Signs Began
Under the direct orders of King Richard the II, Pubs and Inns were required to identify themselves since the fourteenth century. In 1393, it became mandatory that Signs with his badge, a White Hart, were hung outside of Pubs. Official Ale Tasters would be able to locate establishments to test the quality of the goods being sold. This led to the issue of similar signs being displayed through varying townships. Visitors were unable to distinguish one business from the next.
During this time era, literacy was far below what we are accustomed to. Reading was a scholarly activity that the average laborer and farmer did not need. Pub owners designed their own imagery to coincide with their name. A Sign was made to accentuate the name with a visual versus letters and words. Pub goers became familiar with the picture making it simpler to make plans and find the right location. Often times people would travel between cities and towns. Inns and Pubs offered lodging, food and warmth to such travelers. The Pub Sign was an easy indication they had arrived at their destination.
The Significance in Pub Signs
In the fifteenth century, Pub Signs became a right of passage. If the business did not uphold their agreements or their permissions were revoked for any reason, the sign was removed from the premises. This practice led to stricter guidelines and adherence to avoid the humiliation of your Sign being removed. Kings have long put their personal signature throughout their territories. Emblems on Signs that were representative of the royal hierarchy were also a compulsory practice led by King Henry VIII and King James I.
Most of the Pub Signs were made of wood with carvings or branded engravements. Various forms of painted techniques and creativity were used to give the pub or Inn an identity. They still heralded the symbols of the significant time period with an allowance of their own individuality. Eventually, symbols were included to mark the types of ales or conveniences they had available. Their sign was as good as their handshake, and the only advertising they needed was through word of mouth.
It is no wonder you can journey through and see antiquated insignia still hanging on display today. Pubs have been established for many generations, and still bear the same iconic Signs. New Pubs and inns continue the custom in honor of their roots from so long ago.