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The History & Significance of Electric Advertising in Times Square

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Gabiella Haines

Title: The History & Significance of Electric Advertising in Times Square  

Photo by Marc Chong on Unsplash


When people think of New York, the bright LED billboards illuminating Times Square are usually the first thing that comes to mind. They have become a recognizable symbol of New York ever since they were first unveiled- Times Square proves the importance of bright, recognizable signage. However, before LED ads were present in New York, other forms of light-up advertising were apart of Times Square’s allure.

Early Electric Advertising in Times Square: A Timeline

In May 1904, Times Square’s first electric advertisement is erected on the side of a bank.
Broadway gained the nickname “The Great White Way,” after the bright white lights lining the buildings on the street. It became one of the first streets in America to be fully lit by electric light, and during this time, it wasn’t uncommon for people to walk the streets at night to see the lights. The nickname stuck around as more electric ads in Times Square contributed to the spectacle in the 1920’s.
In 1917, Wrigley displayed one of the biggest electric signs at the time in Times Square. The huge sign became a tourist attraction. The sign was a full block long, and crowds would gather to ogle it at night.
This year marked the introduction of neon signage to America, and the streets of New York embraced this new form of advertising. Neon signage has become outdated. The far more efficient, bright, and reliable LEDs have replaced old neon signs. 


Thanks to their unique look, several business owners keep their original neon signs up in New York today. However, LED signs have proven themselves to be the better choice for companies when it comes to showcasing ads. LEDs- like those in Green Light’s business signs- are customizable and can change color easily. This means that they are excellent for business owners that want to customize lights to match their exact branding.
Photo by Kevin Rajaram on Unsplash

Significant Events in Times Square Advertising:

When the first electric sign was put up in Times Square, it marked the beginning of a new era in advertising. As the ads become more advanced, the awe people feel when looking at Times Square has only grown. 
  • In 2014, Clear Channel introduced the biggest billboard in Times Square’s history. The billboard is eight stories high, and costs $2.5 million per month to rent. Google was the first company to advertise on it.
  • In 2017, Coca Cola unveiled the world’s first 3D robotic billboard in Times Square. The billboard is six stories tall, and made up of over 1,700 computerized LED modules. 

Above all, companies have to consider if their ad is eye-catching. Although, your small business may not be as large as Google or Coca-Cola, you can still catch your customers’ eyes with bright business signage. Investing in a Green Light Innovations open sign is a great way to attract customers’ attention without breaking the bank.


People fly from all over the world to gawk at the advertisements and marvel at Times Square. From the first electric sign put up in Times Square to the introduction of LED billboards, Times Square has come a long way in advertising, but you don’t need to be a big corporation to appreciate the value of bright, attention-getting signage. You can recreate the magic of Times Square for a fraction of the price with a bright LED open sign from Green Light Innovations! 


Building a Brand for Your Small Business

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How do influencers become influencers? They build a brand that’s captivating, personal, and unique to their business. To make your small business brand as successful as those online guru’s, keep reading.

Photo of coffee cup in front of mural wall
Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash

Building a solid small business brand is important to maintain an image that will interest your buyers and get your name out there. Your brand will essentially show your customers what the message of your brand is, and what your business is about. The experience your customers go through when buying from your business is a part of your brand as well. If you provide great customer service when your customers are having an issue, that becomes synonymous with your brand. Building a brand takes time, and there are many components that go into building a successful brand.


Before even beginning to think of putting out business cards for your business, you’ll need to plan ahead. If creating a quality brand is important to you, then planning ahead should be the first step of your business journey. It is recommended that you start planning out your small business brand at least seven months in advance before starting your actual business. The brand is the face of the company, and investing time in it will only serve to benefit you in the future.


What makes your small business brand unique from other brands? Come up with a list of what makes your brand different from others, figure out what edge you have against competitors. Focus on this uniqueness in your brand to persuade customers to come to your business instead of your competitors.


Another key to your brand’s success is taking a look at what you value in a brand. Think of the brands you’ve been loyal to, what do you like about them? Why do you trust them? Think of what you want your business to stand for and how you want customers to think of your business. Incorporate these things into the idea of your own brand, then write them down. Creating a key messaging document will help you and your team keep your brand grounded. 

Target Audience

Another factor in the success of your business is figuring out exactly who your target audience is. Your small business brand should present itself as the key to a problem your audience has, or as the answer to a specific question they have. Knowing who your audience is and what they want is a key factor in maintaining a successful brand. Gain the trust of your customers and keep track of what they like about your brand. Build on the successful parts of your brand, pay attention to your customers’ issues, and they will keep coming back.   


A recognizable name and logo is a crucial part of your brand’s image. While the name of your business is important, people will associate your brand with your logo, so having a memorable logo is important to pique customers’ interest in your brand. Make sure that your name and logo can easily be associated with your business, and keep your customers in mind while designing a logo or coming up with a business name. You convey a message with your brand name and logo, so think of the message you want to relay to your customers while coming up with a business name/logo. There are lots of resources, like this article from Forbes that will help you determine your logo.Colorful graphic that says that 80% of consumers think that color increases brand recognition

Another important aspect of your brand, and especially your logo, are colors. Colors can cause different emotional reactions in people, so think of what emotions you want your logo to evoke. Color is an easy way to integrate your brand into all aspects of your business including signage, marketing collateral, and products. The amount of effort you put forth in making your branding materials will show, so make sure it’s something that genuinely reflects the quality of your brand. 


There are two parts to consistency in your brand, both of which affect your brand’s ability to be successful. First, there’s consistency in your brand’s message/tone. If you come across as lighthearted on your Facebook page, but serious on your blog, that will clash with what your customers think of as your tone. Causing confusion amongst your customers about your message/tone will weaken your brand. Second, there’s consistency in your branding throughout different platforms. Make sure that you use the same logos and messages across your websites and social media, the overall design should remain consistent. However, the content you post doesn’t have to remain consistent. You could use Facebook for sharing articles related to business, and then another website to put up blog posts. Your content should be tailored to the audiences you reach through different social media channels.

Quality Products/Experiences

It sounds obvious, but creating quality products is essential to your brand’s growth and consistent success. Some brands fall back on quality once they become successful, which is a mistake. The number one reason people write reviews is to share their experiences with the business. Your customers will notice if your quality isn’t what it used to be, and they’ll reflect their dissatisfaction through their reviews of your business. You should always be providing your customers with quality products and service, no matter if you’ve made it big or not.

Customer/Small Business Brand Relationship

Lastly, perhaps the most important thing about your brand is the relationship you have with your customers. If you promise something to your customers, keep that promise. Disappointing your customers will only cause them to distrust your brand, so make sure you can deliver on your promises. If your customers are happy and satisfied with your brand, they’ll keep coming back. Maintain a good relationship with your customers, and potential customers will trust you too.

It’s tedious, but taking the time to build a quality brand will bring your business a wealth of benefits in the long run. Plan ahead and stick with it, invest in your brand’s image, stay consistent, and remember to maintain good relationships with your customers.



21 Ideas for Your Light Frame

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The Green Light Innovations Light Frame provides our customers with the opportunity to creatively communicate with their communities. The write on- wipe off Light Frame can be used for dozens of purposes in your business, school, community center, or even home. With eight different border colors and several functions, the Light Frame can be customized to fit your brand or theme. We decided to show you some of the ways that you can use your Light Frame and include some tips for best use.

Light Frame advertising a fall festival

Always start your designs on a completely clean Light Frame for best results. We find that a standard glass cleaner and some paper towels do the trick. Then, get designing! Here are 21 ideas for how to use your Light Frame:

  • Menus
  • Drink specials
  • Sales
  • School events
  • Announcements
  • Store hours
  • Holiday greetings

We recommend preplanning your designs, to ensure that once you get started you won’t have to back track and inadvertently smudge your design. Also, don’t forget your straightedge! Use a ruler or a sheet of paper to help you keep your design straight.

  • Schedules
  • Quote of the weekLight Frame with bar specials listed for game day
  • Welcome sign
  • To do lists
  • Garage sales
  • Count downs
  • Classroom rules
  • Homework lists

You can find inspiration for your Light Frame designs all over! Pinterest is a great resource to check out small simple doodles to dress up your design or to find easily replicable fonts. Get creative and your customers or audience will love checking out your sign.

  • Advertising your social media sites
  • Weekly verses or inspiration
  • Pop-ups
  • Posting your wifi information
  • Craft fairs
  • Holiday marketsLight Frame with fall sale advertisement. Reads buy one get one scarves, 25% off sweaters, and all jeans $10 off.

Remember the final step is plugging in your sign and turning it on! The Light Frame has eight different border colors and can be set to flash one color or many. It comes with 8 markers, but if you visit the Green Light Innovations website you can expand your collection to include our extra wide tip markers for those occasions when you want something to be extra bold. Get creative with your designs and post them to social media using the hashtag #GreenLightFrame so we can see your creations!

Open Sign Survey: What do business owners want in an open sign?

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Recently, Green Light Innovations has been doing some self reflection. After meeting with a new buyer for one of our retail partners, we found ourselves with a handful of questions the buyer had asked that we didn’t know the answers to. The buyer had asked questions about what our open sign customers care most about, and while we can list a number of things that our business owners care about- customer service, brightness, size, and price- we couldn’t quantify or characterize what business owners care MOST about.

Picture of open sign

With this in mind, we developed a survey. We asked five quick questions about open signs to get to the bottom of what our customers care most about and some answers surprised us and some answers reaffirmed our longstanding values. We sent our survey out to everyone who had registered an open sign warranty with us in the last ten years, and we posted about it on our Facebook page. Then, to sweeten the deal we offered to randomly pick twenty people that took our survey to win a free Digital Business Hours open sign. Here’s what we learned:


97% of our survey respondents said that service and quality were very important. We patted ourselves on the back because we know and have always known that quality and service are a top priority for our customers. We stand by our statement that if something goes wrong we will make it right. Green Light Innovations won’t make you wait for days to hear back from our customer service team and when you register for your warranty with us, you’re covered for three years – “No Questions Asked”.


The second most important consideration for business owners when they buy an open sign is brightness. 89% said that the brightness of an open sign was very important. This didn’t surprise our team, and neither did the 63% of business owners who said size was very important. You buy an open sign to catch your customer’s eye and if it’s dim or it’s too small that will not be accomplished and you will have wasted your hard earned dollars. Green Light knows that our customers are savvy business owners who make every dollar count, so brightness and size are priorities when choosing an open sign.Digital Hours Business Sign


Only 53% of our survey takers said that price was very important. Our customers prioritize service, quality, brightness, and size over price, which means they are going to pay for a top quality sign rather than buy an inexpensive, but poor quality sign. Green Light Innovations always looks to make the best quality, most innovative open signs that will communicate for your business for many years to come. We know that for business owners time is money, and if you have to spend time troubleshooting open sign problems or on the phone with customer service, that’s money lost. Green Light does not cut corners and we hold ourselves to an exceptionally high standard of quality.


Finally, Green Light always strives to provide our customers with innovative products, which is why all of our open signs currently feature the ability to match the colors of your open sign to your business. Our open signs come with this ability to change the color with just a click of a button because we know that business owners spend time developing and cultivating their brand and we believe that they should have the ability tOval open sign in five different color combinationso make their open sign match as well. What we discovered when asking our customers about the ability to purchase a sign with color changing capabilities is that 88% of business owners would pay more for a sign with color changing options. We were thrilled to learn that our customers recognize and appreciate the value in innovation.


We deeply appreciate everyone who took our survey and we want to congratulate the 20 lucky winners of the free Digital Business Hours open sign. Green Light Innovations loves getting customer feedback and we are prepared to not only inform our new buyer of our survey results, but also use this information as we go forward and continue to innovate. We will utilize this information as we work to bring you better, higher quality, and more technologically advanced products in the future. 

The History of Open Signs: From Neon to LED

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Green Light Innovations was founded in 2008 with the belief that inspired, responsible innovation can transform everyday lives in meaningful ways. Our team has over 50 years of combined experience in open signs. We’ve worked hard to develop the best lighting and signage solutions for your business, and we work hard to understand your business so we want you to understand ours. Here’s our history and story, so you know what motivates us to produce top quality open signs and lighting solutions for you and your business.

A timeline summarizing the history of open signs
A Brief History of Open Signs

In 1985, Fallon Neon started producing neon open signs and selling them in wholesale clubs. Although filling glass tubes with neon gas, causing them to glow was not a new concept- in fact it was first introduced by French inventor Georges Claude in 1910- the neon open sign was a relatively new idea. Fallon Neon produced open signs in the hope of creating a low cost way for small businesses to advertise the fact that they were open and to draw customers in, and they rapidly grew in popularity.


The first neon open signs produced by Fallon Neon were red and blue. Neon burns bright red and argon burns blue. The clear and phosphor coated glass colors were the least expensive and were the easiest way to make open signs affordable.  Thus the red and blue open sign became the industry standard. Fallon Neon continued to produce standard red and blue open signs until the early 2000’s.


In 2005, LED (light emitting diode) technology entered the open sign industry. LED lights are more energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and have more color changing capability. LED technology was presenting the open sign industry an opportunity to grow and innovate to match new technology. While, some open sign producers began utilizing LEDs in their open signs, none took advantage of their color changing capacity.


In 2008, Green Light Innovations was founded by Tim Fallon with the hope of utilizing his knowledge and experience gained during his tenure at Fallon Neon to innovate new lighting solutions that made sense for small business owners and for the environment.   GLI recognizes that business owners spend a lot of time and money cultivating and developing their brand, and for this reason their open sign should match the colors of their business. While a red and blue open sign may have met consumers’ needs when red and blue were the only color options, Green Light’s customers demand more of their open signs.


Today, Green Light Innovations produces a range of LED open signs. We strive to create the brightest and most efficient signs on the market, and all of our open signs have color customization capabilities. Whether it’s our largest sign, the classically oval shaped Typhoon open, the smaller Digital Business Hours open sign, a Vertical Open, or even our Spanish Abierto sign we think our customers should be able to change the color of their open sign to match the colors of their business, a promotion, or just their mood.

Oval open sign in five different color combinations

The team at GLI has been working with open signs for a combined 50 years, but that does not stop us from consistently seeking new innovations. Creating beautiful, quality products and offering the best customer service is what we’ve been doing and what we will continue doing. Our story will always center on our customers and our journey to meet their needs.  Stay tuned and plugged in with us as we work towards inventing the next generation of tools for business to customer communication.