If the facade of the building is the face of the business, on Rothenburg’s high street, colorful and creative shop signs are the flashy earrings that get your attention.
In these days of overzealous, uninspiring advertisers, it’s a pleasure to see artistic creativity used in advertising. In the US, I walk by most shop signs and don’t give them a second thought. I’m not always the target market (at the skinny jeans shop for instance), but still – the marketing department wouldn’t be happy.
But with our first steps through Rothenburg’s city gate, we noticed a gilded wrought iron sign and the shop beneath it. One after the other, down the street the signs continued, and we enjoyed every one. For us, they became not just business signs, but a street art exhibit.
In the Middle Ages, many people couldn’t read or write so shopkeepers used guild signs so travelers could find their shops. For most travelers the bread shop was one of the first stops.
A gasthof (guesthouse) provided food, rest, and a place to wash off the trail dust.
And the apothecary shop was there for the ailing.
Modern travelers aren’t always weary or ill, but many of them do have a special little one at home, and while not Medieval, this bubble-blowing teddy bear sends a clear signal of what’s available inside.
Rothenburg’s attractive, whimsical wrought iron signs provide another glimpse of life in a Medieval village, and put on an art show as well – a captivating combination.
James & Terri