Perspex Protecting Ghostsigns from Barcelona to Sydney 5


Painted sign on a wall covered by a perspex sheet

Sydney, photo by Mike Meyer

This ghostsign for Peters Ice Cream in Sydney was photographed and shared by Mike Meyer while in Australia running signwriting workshops with Better Letters. It has been covered by a perspex sheet, presumably to protect it from vandalism and, to a degree, the elements.

It is not a new approach but one that I think is a positive for two main reasons. Firstly it respects the integrity of the original sign, versus efforts to repaint them. While this is still an intervention, it is done with respect to the sign and in as unobtrusive a manner as possible. Second is the inclusion of some historical notes about the company advertised. These add greatly to the experience of ‘discovering’ the sign in a very immediate way.

I think that this process of providing access to historical and contextual information would be a good way to allow the public to engage with ghostsigns in the built environment. It doesn’t even require perspex coverings. There could be a system of plaques with text and even QR codes to direct individuals to digital content e.g. archival photographs. I think this would make a very worthwhile project and one that I may even initiate myself.

Some more photos of this location below and also another perspex covering found in Barcelona earlier this year. If anyone can translate the Barcelona sign then please add a note in the comments. (More Barcelona lettering photos here.)

Painted sign on a wall covered by a perspex sheet

Sydney, photo by Mike Meyer

Painted sign on a wall covered by a perspex sheet

Sydney, photo by Mike Meyer

Painted sign on a wall covered by a perspex sheet

Sydney, photo by Mike Meyer

Painted sign on a wall covered by perspex

Barcelona

Detail of painted sign on a wall covered by perspex

Barcelona, detail

Detail of painted sign on a wall covered by perspex

Barcelona, detail

Detail of painted sign on a wall covered by perspex

Barcelona, detail

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  • David Tytherleigh

    Thanks for posting this. This protection of a historical signs is great to see. I have fond memories of this Peter’s Ice Cream sign from the mid 1980’s when walking around the upper Rocks area with my mother who was visiting Sydney. As a small girl she use to visit the area in the 1940’s and it was great sharing her memories of that time. I also photographed this Peters sign back then. Great to see it still exists and that Sydney City Council recognises the importance of protecting heritage signs still existing. Unfortunately many other hand painted signs within the CBD haven’t survived the passing of time!

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment. I always like it when the ghostsigns relate back to personal stories and memories of an area. I agree that this approach is a positive one and hope that other locations might learn from this and attempt similar strategies for highlighting their own pieces of painted history.

  • Alayne Alvis

    Protecting historical signs with perspex (or laminated glass) has numerous advantages including protection from rain (most perspex can also filter UV to reduce fading) and accidental or deliberate damage. Preserving the original sign allows study of the paint and methods of creation of the image and lettering.

    • Thanks, I think your points about allowing the study of the methods is a very interesting one and an aspect I haven’t previously considered. This blog post has had a lot of positive feedback and so this would appear to be an approach with widespread approval.

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