Sign Collections

Ghost sign archives and collections.


I recently (28 October) hosted ‘Font Sunday’ on Twitter with the theme of ‘fading fonts’ to mark the changing of the clocks and the fading light it signifies. Among the contributions made was a tweet from Eliza Brownjohn, daughter of the designer Robert Brownjohn (1925-1970) […]

London Street Level by Robert Brownjohn


My father-in-law discovered this astonishing collection of high quality photography showing the high street in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, in 1888. They were photographed by Joseph Lewis della-Porta who came from a retailing family and had the foresight to document these images which convey so much of […]

Shropshire Shop Fronts of the 1880s


Ghost signs in Montreal, Canada, are an interesting category, due to the bilingual nature of the city and wider region of Quebec. This idiosyncracy has been covered in ‘Sur les murs‘ by Réjane Bougé. (Lovely photographs, contemporary and archival, but sadly the text is only […]

Ghost Signs of Montreal & Ottawa from John Toohey



The Grand Exhibition of the Pre-Vinylite Society is now showing for four days at the Bargehouse, behind the OXO Tower on London’s South Bank. Visitors can take in the c.30 pieces from an international cast of contemporary sign and lettering artists, each inspired by entries […]

Now Open: The Grand Exhibition of the Pre-Vinylite Society


Digital artist Andrei Lacatusu has created Social Decay, a series of images depicting a possible future of washed-up digital companies and their derelict signs. They are ‘faux’, although in a different sense to those that I’ve documented in the past. An article on Digital Arts […]

Social Decay from Andrei Lacatusu


[This is a reposting of the original blog post on Better Letters.] Since 1996 Las Vegas’ Neon Museum has put the city’s decommissioned signage on display in its ‘bone yard’ exhibit. It was already a ‘must visit’ lettering location but has now been boosted by […]

Brilliant at Las Vegas’ Neon Museum



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The following article is re-posted from the original on Better Letters. This August we’ll be opening a very special sign painting exhibition within the public-facing part of Letterheads 2018: London Calling. It is being curated by Meredith Kasabian of Best Dressed Signs and the Pre-Vinylite […]

The Grand Exhibition of the Society of Sign Painters





Michelle Heron is a London-based painter with a paticular fascination for old shops and shop fronts. Her paintings depict iconic fascias, many of which have been lost since she turned her attention to them, and some that survive in a state of perpetual uncertainty. As […]

Michelle Heron’s Fantastic Fascias



The list below of painted advertisements in Islington was compiled in the hope that some of those reading it might write in with additional locations not known to the compiler, and in the belief that painted advertisements in other parts of London would make a […]

Painted Advertisements in Islington: Part 4



The list below of painted advertisements in Islington was compiled in the hope that some of those reading it might write in with additional locations not known to the compiler, and in the belief that painted advertisements in other parts of London would make a […]

Painted Advertisements in Islington: Part 3


The list below of painted advertisements in Islington was compiled in the hope that some of those reading it might write in with additional locations not known to the compiler, and in the belief that painted advertisements in other parts of London would make a […]

Painted Advertisements in Islington: Part 2


Historia de la Publicidas is a wonderful archive documenting the advertising history of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Curated by Raul Manrupe the collection features a mixture of archival photography, contemporary images of ghost signs, and other artwork involved in the production and documentation of outdoor […]

Images of Buenos Aires’ Advertising Past




Earlier this month I was back in Mazeppa, Minnesota for more workshops with Mike Meyer and Better Letters. This gave me an opportunity to see some of the signs there without the snowy backdrop, and also to spend some time in Minneapolis where there were […]

More Minnesota Ghostsigns…


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



Spitalfields Life has published a series of pieces documenting East End shop fronts, in support of the campaign against the forthcoming rise in business rates across the area. I have picked one photo from each piece and would encourage a proper browse of all of […]

East End Shops from Spitalfields Life


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I am conducting a small investigation into the ghostsigns of Islington and am appealing for help from readers of this blog. The map below (view full screen) will form the basis for this, in the context of the following notes. Recently while going through old […]

Painted Advertisements in Islington: Part 1


Philip Marriage recently sent me this photo of these perpendicular palimpsests at the junction of Brick Lane and Princelet Street. He was trying to work out what they say. This followed his question about the location of another Spitalfields ghostsign which followers on Twitter and […]

Spitalfields Ghostsigns from Philip Marriage




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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