They are larger than life and convey a variety of messages; billboards. Used for outdoor advertising, these boards can be found throughout cities and alongside busy highways. Typically, these advertising boards are made of steel frames, including some wood, multi-mast steel, and monopole. It must be able to endure high winds, so the construction of the billboard is crucial for a variety of weather events. The newer, modern billboards must conform to engineering standards. In fact, there is a government valuation guide in which companies (and or owners) must follow to ensure safety while implementing their guidelines…all industry standards of course.

Billboards have been used for many years, dating back to the late 1700’s it’s the Egyptians which used lithography (oils & water) to create pictures, later putting their creations on poster paper. By the year 1870, America was ready to cash in on these poster boards, signing on 300 painting companies. But the first paper board was used at the Paris Exposition in 1889. Soon after, came the arrival of Ford (in the 1920’s), allowing affordability for all its new motorists; boards were then be placed alongside new and busy roads in hopes of building a successful business. This industry took off as one of the greatest ways to formally advertise products, bringing in the big guns like Kellogg’s and Coca-Cola to the frontlines. This was also a time in which The National Outdoor Advertising Bureau formed, listing itself on the New York stock exchange for the first time in the 1920’s.

In September of 1965 the U.S. Senate passed HBA, the Highway Beautification Act, and it was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 22, 1965. With this act, it was important to be able to control some of its outdoor advertising, as well as removal of certain signs along roadsides; older broken-down signs had to go. As the billboard business took off, so did the larger companies who used them. In the 1970’s, companies began to research on creating messages by computer; ultimately leading to digital technology through computer painting. However, the first digital billboards weren’t available until 2005.

Billboards have come along way, just like most everything today. But for those that like to hit the roads without a specific destination, billboards along highways have been the staple (best source) of what lies ahead in so many miles. Travelers wanted to know what restaurants and amenities were along their journey; seeming somewhat primitive now. The evolution of advertising billboards continues; 3D billboards, and multi media offers a variety of technology for advertisers. Old boards are replaced with new ones, offering vibrant digital colors, and it changes with a computer instead of workers replacing paper. As I drove along the highway the other day, my attention was drawn to a bright billboard sign, and for what it’s worth…my mind began wandering into the past, thinking about route 66 and the old poster board signs that existed many years ago…from circus and fair poster boards to current billboards…advertising cell phone companies, new automobiles and state lottery. Everything changes, everything evolves…even those billboards along roadsides.

Make your week count.