So, what can you learn from the signs of route 66? As I write this, a co-worker and her daughter are cruising somewhere on Route 66. They began exploring the highway several years ago, gradually heading west and eventually want to make it to the end at Santa Monica. This year they hope to make it to the Grand Canyon, but travelling Route 66 isn’t a trip where you plan every activity of the day. Because, that’s not what it’s about.

The Signs Say it All

In the weeks leading up to Becky’s trip, I became aware of how many images of Route 66 I’d see on a weekly basis, and I would share these with her. For a highway that was officially decommissioned in July of 1985, there’s a lot of conversation about it, and images abound. Why is that? Is it the romance of days gone by, the mystery of the road, the enchantment of being a free spirit? Yes, yes, and yes and it’s also because there are some great signs that epitomize all of the above.

A Million Signs and Counting

There are signs scattered all long the 2,451 miles of Route 66. These treasures date back to the late 1920’s through today. The Route 66 sign itself comes in hundreds of versions. Each state had their own take on the sign. Most were black and white, but some were red, white, and blue. A few were made using reflective material, others weren’t, and some were lit. The Route 66 logo was painted directly on the road. From Chicago to California signs are part of the mystique of Route 66. There are café, burger joint, and motel signs as well as signs of cowboys on broncos, and bathing capped beauties diving through the air. There are Drink Coca-Cola, Phillip’s 66, and the Sinclair Dinosaur signs up and down the highway. While antique cars and trucks sit out front or adorn buildings and point the way to museums and sites of interest.

What Can You Learn from the Signs of Route 66? 

First ask yourself, what makes these signs attractive? It’s partially the mystique of days gone by and the romance of the road, but it’s more than that. These signs are a creative expression. The signs of Route 66 aren’t mere signs—they’re pieces of art. The next time you think about creative pursuits for your organization, whether it’s content, graphics, collateral material, social media, or even a sign —  stop and consider this, are you creating something fleeting or a lasting work of art? Your creation may represent your organization for many years; shouldn’t it be given time, consideration, and a little creative freedom?

Photo by Ann Kathrin Bopp on Unsplash