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Bally and the Distinctive Neon Sign at Bahnhofstrasse Zurich

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

The Bally neon sign is iconic for the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich. Although this landmark is protected for its uniqueness, it is ever changing. While the masses are busy strolling along the shopping street, five letters forming continuously new words flaunt brightly above.

Bally LED Kugeln an der Bahnhofstrasse

Many things change at the busy shopping mile in Zurich, but one Bally souvenir remains: the five balls with letters. It is refreshing to look up and take a minute to philosophize about its meaning, surrounded by the stream of people flowing past, rushing to the next shop, train or meeting. The agency WBG compiled a collection of those 5-letter words, which are exchanged every so often and therefore provide a new surprise on every visit.

The BALLY lettermark first appeared on Bahnhofstrasse in 1968, along with the construction of the Haus Capitol at the entry to the Rennweg, where Bally opened a new boutique. Only in 2013, the sign was removed, in order to renovate the building for Zara, who was taking over the shop area. Two years later, the balls came back in a modern version with LED lights, as they can be experienced now. The new version was a compromise, of the protection order of the building and the new shop owner who understandably did not appreciate another brand advertised above its door. As a result, one can now enjoy the always new five letter words instead of a simple Zara Logo.

Exhibition "Bally - Swiss Shoes Since 1851" at Museum für Gestaltung

Those who prefer to enjoy the good old times, without LED and fast fashion, can do so at the Bally Shoe Museum. There, one can go back in time and explore the neatly preserved posters, shoes, cloths and the history, as well as how Bally developed village as a whole. Only recently, part of the rich collection was exhibited at the Museum für Gestaltung. Of course, the original Bally sign was not missing.



Founded 1851 in Schönenwerd by Carl Franz Bally

Went from simple shoe maker to luxury goods producer

Is know for its innovative advertisement and employee benefits back in the days

Belongs to the Chinese company Shandong Ruyi

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