Book Reviews

Book reviews of title about ghostsigns and other related areas. Also includes posts with links to reviews on external sites.


Fading Ads of Gloucester extends the current series from the History Press in the UK, USA, and Ireland. The material has been researched and gathered by Chris West, graphic designer for the publisher. The format of the titles in the series varies but this one […]

Fading Ads of Gloucester by Chris West


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When did old painted signs on walls become known as ‘ghost’ signs, and who coined the phrase? These questions crop up often in my discussions with others, and on my tours, and I always have to hold my hand up and say I didn’t invent […]

Tracing the Origins of ‘Ghost’ Signs


Advertising & Public Memory is the first scholarly book focused on ghostsigns. It was a labour of love across much of 2015, work that included editing others’ work, as well as contributing to some of the writing inside, notably an attempt to answer the question […]

Advertising & Public Memory: Social, Cultural and Historical Perspectives on ...




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One month ago I attended the launch of Ghostletters Vienna at the Wien Museum in Austria’s capital city. The book was conceived, written and produced by Tom Koch, alongside photographers Daniel Gerersdorfer and Stephan Doleschal. It got off the ground with two crowdsourcing efforts, one […]

Ghostsigns & Ghostletters of Vienna





Painted sign fading on a wall advertising Teinturerie des Penitents
A new book from Steven Heller and Gail Anderson features a handful of my ghostsigns photos from around the world (London, Cambodia, France and Australia). Typographic Universe documents a variety of ‘found’ letters in the environment, people and animals, alongside the creation of letters from […]

Ghostsigns in the Typographic Universe




Cover of the book Fading Ads of St. Louis by Wm. Stage
This stunning photograph is from the cover of Wm. Stage‘s latest addition to the ghostsigns literature, ‘Fading Ads of St. Louis‘. Stage’s first book, ‘Ghost Signs‘, remains the definitive text on the topic and so it is no surprise to find his latest work full […]

Fading Ads of St. Louis by Wm. Stage


Restored painted sign advertising Knis & Gunnink coffee and tea house in Kampen 6
Tekens Aan De Wand (Writing on the Wall) is a book documenting the collective efforts of local historical societies across the Netherlands to restore ghostsigns. It is published by Trichis and features over 170 pages of beautiful painted signage, graphic design and archival photography. Sadly […]

Tekens Aan De Wand: Ghostsign Restoration in the Netherlands


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



Montréal street scene with ghostsign in archival image
‘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


Cover of Fading Ads of Birmingham book by Charles Buchanan and Jonathan Purvis 2
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


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



Fragment of hand-painted sign for Lewis Stone 7
Today sees the publication of the UK’s first ghostsigns book. Liverpool Ghost Signs by Caroline and Phil Bunford is “a sideways look at the city’s advertising history” and features over 150 images of fading, crumbling and disused signage. Caroline and Phil were almost single-handedly responsible […]

Liverpool Ghost Signs by Caroline and Phil Bunford