Signs of the Times Magazine
100 Years of Signs
Just about anyone who has been remotely involved with producing, designing, or admiring the signs industry will be familiar with Signs of the Times magazine. This month, Signs of the Times will celebrate its 100th anniversary. An official celebration is slated for April 5-8 in Orlando, FL, during the International Sign Association event.
First published in May 1906 by former Billboard Magazine, Signs of the Times is as much a fixture of Americana as the signage it features. Initially distributed to 4,650 subscribers in 42 American cities, the Cincinnati-based publication set out to educate and inform a community of signmakers about the artistic, technical and business sides of the industry. Today, 18,200 subscribers in 112 countries eagerly anticipate the magazine.
In an inadvertent yet fortuitous way, Signs of the Times has chronicled the nation's growth via its pictorial history. At the turn of the century, as immigration exploded, Signs of the Times documented the burgeoning signage. During the industrial revolution, Signs of the Times celebrated the new electric signs. Signs of the Times weathered the Great Depression, and advertising was bolstered by advancements in signage, including neon lighting, fluorescent tubing and plastics. During World War II, amid the governmental material restrictions, the signage industry survived, and Signs of the Times highlighted the signs that reflected the spirit of America.
Former company president Dave Swormstedt, Sr., who joined the magazine in 1937, was instrumental in founding two industry associations that still thrive today: The International Sign Association (founded in 1944 as the National Electric Sign Association) and the Screen Graphics Imaging Association (founded in 1949 as the Screen Process Printing Association). For his dedication, the SGIA created the "Swormstedt Award," which recognizes industry writers for their excellent editorial work.
With Swormstedt, Sr.'s passing in 1978, his sons, Dave Jr. and Jerry, steered the magazine (and company) in a growth direction. In addition, brothers Tod and Wade Swormstedt (sons of Dave Jr.) led the editorial effort for Signs of the Times magazine. As technology and product consumption swelled in the U.S. during the 80s and 90s, Signs of the Times magazine educated its audience about new automated signmaking technology and outdoor legislation, while featuring impressive sign graphics.
To this day, the magazine continues its trend of tracking the industry's progress and pioneering new market surveys and sign graphics competitions. In addition, ST Media Group International has ensured that the sign industry's past will thrive for decades to come. ST Media Group has donated more than $1 million over five years to the American Sign Museum, the first sign museum in the U.S (www.signmuseum.com ).
Current company president Tedd Swormstedt (son of Jerry) summarizes the company's accomplishments, "You can't truly appreciate all that we've accomplished until you hear a reader say. 'I have every issue of Signs of the Times dating back to the 1950s.' Our corporate goal is to generate that type of loyalty from each reader, online visitor and event attendee by making it our priority to inform, educate and grow the industries that we serve."
A commemorative edition will be offered in June 2006. The special issue will feature a 48-page timeline history, complimented by one- and two-page stories of historical highlights. Non-subscribers will be able to purchase the commemorative edition by contacting customer service at 800-421-1321 or online at www.signweb.com . In addition, a limited run of hard-bound copies will be available for purchase. Advertising opportunities in the timeless commemorative edition are still available. Contact advertising sales at 800-925-1110 for more details. (See Full Cover Art)
Signs of the Times is the leading magazine and voice for the sign industry. It is published monthly by Cincinnati-based and family-owned ST Media Group International Inc., which serves the visual communications markets with its five publications, branded web sites, events division and custom book division. Signs of the Times and ST Media Group International may be reached at 513-421-2050 or through their websites, www.signweb.com and www.stmediagroup.com.
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