Yearly Archives: 2013



Sign board advertising London screenings of Sign Painters and Horn Please 1
[Update: Read a review of the screenings here] I’m very excited to announce that The Sign Painter Movie is coming to London and will be screened alongside Horn Please on Wednesday, 5 February 2014 [Update: Sold Out, tickets now added for Thursday, 6 February and […]

Sign Painter Movie / Horn Please Double Bill





Clipping from Letterheads magazine showing Coca-Cola ghostsign in negative 4
Following the talk at St Bride, a chain of events led to Ash at Brilliant Signs, via Stewart at McLaren Signs, sending me a copy of Letterheads Magazine from 1998. I’d expressed an interest because of the big centre spread showing lots of ghostsigns. However, […]

Mirrored Ghostsign from Portland, Oregon




Painted sign, fading on a wall in Nicaragua
While preparing for Wednesday’s talk at St Bride I rediscovered this in an old photo album from my 1998 travels in Central America. It is from Nicaragua, celebrating 1 May, International Workers’ Day. I believe this may be my first ever ghostsign photo, predating the fountain […]

My first Ghostsign, from Nicaragua





Fading painted advertisement on wall alongside piece of street art 6
Kasey Smith’s ‘Perception Filter‘ blog is well worth a follow for all ghostsigns enthusiasts. Her dispatches from San Francisco have been a big influence on me, as evidenced by the number of times I’ve decided to highlight her observations, insights, investigations and mapping efforts here on […]

Anarchy on the Walls: Ghostsigns, Street Art & Graffiti





Ghostsign advertising Melbourne Shipping Company 2
Back in March I was in Melbourne where I checked out some of the ghostsigns the city has to offer in addition to giving a talk alongside Stephen Banham at the University. Some of this was thanks to a chauffeur-driven tour by Stefan Schutt (Finding […]

Melbourne’s Ghostsigns and their Hunters


Painted walls in Mexico advertising music events 2
Bardas de Baile (‘Mexican Wall Painting’) is a fascinating documentation of the ubiquitous painted walls found in Mexico. At first glance the images appear to be graffiti but closer inspection reveals that they are actually advertisements produced to promote local music events. The origin of […]

Bardas de Baile: Mexican Wall Painting


Layout of painted sign on paper for Cabury Bournville Cocoa
The Lewis & Skinner archive is a collection of materials relating to the work of a Melbourne signwriting company from the first half of the last century. These were fortuitously discovered by Dr Stefan Schutt last year and he has since been working to archive […]

Lewis & Skinner Exhibit Featuring Ghostsigns and Live Signwriting



Hand-painted lettering on a wall saying 'Furniture Bought, Sold Or' 10
This is a detail from one of my all-time favourite ghostsigns. It’s on Dulwich Road in South London and already features in the History of Advertising Trust Ghostsigns Archive. I had never actually seen it ‘in the flesh’ so it was a great surprise addition […]

S Errington and some other South London Ghostsigns


Hand-painted wall sign advertising Waits Butcher 1
Mick McTiernan has sent me his collection of archival ghostsigns photography, and what a collection it is. (More in his Ghost Signs set.) Proving that fading advertising painted on walls has held people in fascination for many years, Mick dates some of his images to […]

The Mick McTiernan ‘Wall Paintings’ Collection


Montréal street scene with ghostsign in archival image 1
‘Sur les murs‘ (‘on the walls’) is the first book about ghostsigns to come out of Canada. It is a French language publication, as it is set in Montréal, but contains many English language signs. This reflects the bilingual history of the city and the […]

‘Sur Les Murs’: Montréal’s Bilingual Ghostsigns



Stencil and result of Sam Roberts' Beanfeast piece 4
This is my/Ghostsigns’ submission to an inspiring project from Type Tasting, part of this year’s London Design Festival. It will be displayed alongside works from myriad designers and artists, including Alan Kitching and Ralph Steadman (Wow!), at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 14-19 September. (Event details […]

Beanfeast: Ghostsigns at Type Tasting


London ghostsign photographed by Mari Boman 1
Mari Boman, a photographer, took ghostsigns as the subject matter for her project titled ‘Liminal Space: past/presence’. The result is this series of nine beautiful images of some of London’s most well known ghostsigns. Not only that but the titles offer cryptic clues as to […]

Liminal Space: past/presence by Mari Boman


Ghostsign in Ypres, Belgium, advertising details for visitors from the British Legion 4
[This post has been updated since it was first published on 18th August 2013 to reflect clarifications received from Genevra Charsley of Flanders Battlefield Tour.] This intriguing English-language ghostsigns is found in Ypres, Belgium, and has been identified for protection given its historical significance. I […]

Ghost of the British Legion in Ypres, Belgium



Cover of Fading Ads of Birmingham book by Charles Buchanan and Jonathan Purvis 3
Birmingham, Alabama, is the location for this addition to the ghostsigns literature from resident advertising expert and artist Charles Buchanan. For a city founded as recently as 1871 there is a rich history found on its walls, one that Buchanan has diligently researched and which […]

Fading Ads of Birmingham by Charles Buchanan and Jonathan Purvis


Archive photo of tobacco shop with traditional original signage
An effort is underway to repaint the fading remains of this fantastic example of shop fascia lettering in Fleetwood. I love the language, “Bacca Shoppee” in particular, and the repetition of the core offering across all elements of the shop front. It is interesting to […]

Wonderful lettering and language at heart of Fleetwood restoration project


Hand-painted sign saying 'Sign painters do it in 1 shot' 13
The Sign Painter Movie is now on tour with dates booked in until November, including Scotland and New Zealand for those outside the film’s USA base. I was treated to a preview screening and also got my hands on the book that accompanies the film. […]

Sign Painters: The movie, the book and the resurgence