Signs of the Times magazine was founded in 1906 to educate and inform signmakers about the artistry, technical issues, and business concerns in their industry. Now, a century after its first issue was printed, more than 18,000 subscribers in 112 countries receive Signs of the Times each month. Cincinnati, OH-based ST Media Group Int’l, Inc., a family-owned company, publishes Signs of the Times along with Screen Printing, The Big Picture, Visual Merchandising and Store Design, and Signs of the Times and Screen Printing en Espanol magazines.
“In this age of consolidation, Signs of the Times’ ability to remain an independent trade journal for a century, and to keep it within the family for four generations, harkens back to the entrepreneurial spirit of bygone eras,” says Wade Swormstedt, editor and publisher of Signs of the Times.
In its quest to provide comprehensive coverage, Signs of the Times also chronicled America’s growth and highlighted the ways in which signage played a role in significant historical events. The magazine documented the unique signage that followed the big waves of immigration in the early 20th century. Electric signs, a product of the industrial revolution, made headlines in Signs of the Times. The incorporation of neon, fluorescent tubing, and plastics after the Great Depression was also big news. And the patriotic signs of World War II, which helped the industry survive amid government-imposed material restrictions, were covered as well.
Signs of the Times also had an instrumental role in the development of associations that still serve the industry today. The late Dave Swormstedt Sr., who joined the magazine in 1937 and served as president of ST Media Group, was actively involved in the founding of the International Sign Association (founded in 1944 as the National Electric Sign Association) and the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (founded in 1949 as the Screen Process Printing Association). This year’s ISA show (April 5-8 in Orlando, FL) will featured an official centennial celebration. Additionally, Signs of the Times will issue a commemorative edition in June 2006 that will include a 48-page timeline and historical highlights.
“Signs of the Times’ centennial is not so much a celebration of the magazine as it is a celebration of sign-industry artisans and product manufacturers, as well as the incomparable contribution signage has made to small business and the U.S. economy,” Wade Swormstedt says. For more information about Signs of the Times, contact ST Media Group Int’l, 407 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45202, 513-421-2050, fax: 513-421-5144, Web: www.signweb.com, www.stmediagroup.com.
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