USA


Absolutely fascinating investigation uncovering the historical connections between two glass signs for F.W. Woolworth Co. and the Winston-Salem sit-ins that played a major role in the American Civil Rights movement. (Watch on www.pbs.org here.) Hat tip to Meredith at the Pre-Vinylite Society for spotting this, […]

F.W. Woolworth Co. and the Winston-Salem Sit-Ins


[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








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…


Peter Vogel runs the Nutmegger Workshop in Texas, and specialises in vintage and faux aged signs. Back in 2014 he sent me this collection of pictures of a genuine Coca-Cola ghostsign “trapped within a vestibule behind and between” the Witherspoon Building and its neighbour in […]

Hidden Coca-Cola Ghostsign in Portland’s Witherspoon Building


Fading painted advertisement on wall advertising Gold Dust Washing Powder
Lurking in my folders of blog post ideas I came across a photo that I’d forgotten about, of a ghostsign advertising Gold Dust Washing Powder. This is shown below and was quite small so I did a few searches and discovered the one above, used […]

Gold Dust Washing Powder: An Unsettling Reveal



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Dr Ken Jones has been doing an incredible job documenting the ghostsigns of America via his American Ghosts project. Not only does this involve detailed photographic documentation (see previous post on his process), but also pinning ghostsigns onto an ever-growing map. This now pinpoints thousands […]

Ken Jones’ Butte Palimpsests






Joe Thompson emailed me these fascinating photos of lettering on unusual objects, namely a dead whale (1919) and a shipwrecked oil tanker (1926). They are from San Francisco, recently donated to the Western Neighbourhoods Project. Read more about the photos and the project on SF […]

Writing on the Whale and Other Novelties


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This ghostsign advertising Roxy’s Hunting Goods did for Lawrence O’Toole what the Stoke Newington Fount Pens sign did for me. It sensitised him to the presence of ghostsigns in the urban environment, and started a programme of activity that would lead to the publication of […]

Fading Ads of Philadelphia by Lawrence O’Toole



Painted sign on wall for Dr Bells
Rob Estes of Brushstroke Signs took the photograph below which reached me via Cornbread of the Walldogs. It’s of a recent ghostsign revealed in Paducah, Kentucky, and has elements that have survived in excellent condition, protected by an adjacent building that has now been demolished. […]

Dr Bells: A Stunning Ghostsign Reveal in Paducah


Painted sign on a wall advertising 'Hospital for Horses and Dogs'
Here is a new (to me at least) approach to respecting ghostsigns while undertaking building renovations/property development. The host wall of this sign in Washington DC has been painted, with a careful distance left around the surviving lettering for this veterinary hospital. It could well […]

Skirting the Edges of a Ghostsign in Washington DC


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



RE Ringer General Merchandise store front
In an effort to save this fading and rusting shop front, Beth and Tony Walls moved the entire building 150ft to allow for a highway widening project. Martin Garfinkel of Roadside Gallery has captured it beautifully in this fine art print, available to buy here. […]

Moving Walls to Save a Ghostsign


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


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



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


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


Faux ghostsign for Cinquecento cafe 19
‘Faux’ ghostsigns are a relatively new phenomenon but are appearing with increasing frequency around the world. I invited Meredith Kasabian, of Boston’s Best Dressed Signs and The Pre-Vinylite Society, to share her thoughts given her and Josh Luke’s recent work on the example above. Several […]

Faux ghostsigns, authenticity and the passage of time: Guest post ...