Monthly Archives: February 2016

Signs Have Come A Long Way Since Manhattan Beach

By Mike Eckert


In May 1892, the first electric sign erected in New York, the well-known Manhattan Beach electric sign, was lit up. It was located at 23rd Street and Broadway on the wall of the Cumberland Hotel. The sign caught people’s attention and was truly innovative for its time. Few realized that it was a “sign” of things to come. By the use of those somewhat primitive electric bulbs this sign flashed its story: “Manhattan Beach – Swept by Ocean Breezes.”

Since then, we have seen the introduction of the neon tube and by 1930 every town had its neon sign. After World War II, technological advances in plastic presented a platform for creating a whole new set of design features.With advancements in technology, the sign industry is positioned for the next big development. Using very thin “invisible” materials and LED lighting, we can capture the attention of consumers with motion activated messages. Once a static medium, signs are now produced to react to consumer presence and activate at the important point of purchase changing the way we respond.

Design Phase, in connection with FLEx Lighting, has developed InvisiSign, a motion activated “invisible” sign. “This is a new way to engage the consumer. With technology advancing so quickly, the InvisiSign product is perfect for the next generation of In-Store signage” says Mike Casper, President of FLEx Lighting. “Several test studies have been done to test the sales “lift” and we’ve seen double digit increases in sales for the products versus those without our signage,” he added.

Just as the Manhattan Beach sign and its novelty caught the eyes of those who passed by, technology again will be at the forefront, capitalizing on how we as consumers react and respond to a new form of messaging.

Watch the video here to find out more on the technology changing the sign industry.

Mike Eckert is President of Design Phase Inc., a leader in the point-of-purchase industry. With over 30 years in the industry, Design Phase’s innovative displays for some of the world’s largest brands including Microsoft, LG Electronics, Disney, and Bose have won a multitude of awards, including Display of the Year four times. Mike can be contacted at