Ghostsigns

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About Ghostsigns

This site is dedicated to ‘ghost’ signs, the fading remains of hand-painted signs. The aim is to raise awareness and understanding of ghost signs through a variety of projects, including research, publishing, tours and events. Below you’ll find some frequently asked questions about ghost signs and some of the projects I’ve worked on.

My ongoing work in this endeavour is supported by the generosity of my Patreon patrons and one-off donations received via PayPal, so please consider one of these if you would like to contribute towards the initiative.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some frequently asked questions with links to useful resources to explore the themes in more depth, many from the blog.

What is a ghost sign?

My working definition is ‘fading painted sign’ which is justified in this extended essay. Broadly the main things to consider are the form and content of the sign i.e. how it was produced and what it’s purpose was/is. Depending on your views on each of these dimensions you may arrive at a different definition to mine. (NB. I didn’t coin the term.)

Where can ghost signs be found?

Almost everywhere, although they don’t hold up as well in countries with more sun. See the list of worldwide locations currently documented on the blog.

When were ghost signs painted?

It depends what you count as a ghost sign, but people have been making marks on walls since pre-historic times. More recently there is evidence of commercial signage in the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and then an 1820s one in Bath.

Should ghost signs be protected and/or restored?

See posts on protection and posts on restoration from the blog. I would also recommend reading this extended piece I wrote for the Monotype Recorder on the wider question of what to do about ghost signs and some more in-depth thoughts on this difficult question.

Some Projects

Here are some initiatives that I’ve been involved with since first becoming aware of ghost signs in 2016. These have included ghost signs-related projects via sister initiative Better Letters.

I’m always open to new collaborations so please email sam@ghostsigns.co.uk to get in touch and talk about your ideas.

2010: History of Advertising Trust Ghostsigns Archive

2012: Hand-Painted Signs of Kratie

2013–: Ghostsigns Walking Tours

2014: Sign Painters Screening

2016: Ghostsigns Tours App

2016: Light Capsules

2016: Advertising & Public Memory

2018: N.E. Signs

Support Me

As above, all this is made possible via your support so please make a one-off donation via PayPal, or become a patron on Patreon.

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