Books


Over the years I’ve tried to seek out and review books about ghost signs here on the blog. Here is a set of recommendations drawn from these, focused on those in English. In a future blog post I’ll feature work published in other languages. 1 […]

Five of the Best: Books about Ghost Signs


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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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




Cover of Ghost Signs of Dublin by Antonia Hart and Lynn Nalty 1
Last year saw the publication of Ghost Signs of Dublin, to my knowledge the first book covering the subject in Ireland. It is the latest in the growing set of titles from The History Press, previously focused on the UK and USA. (See: Birmingham Alabama; […]

Ghost Signs of Dublin by Antonia Hart


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


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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




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 8
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 sign, fading on a wall in Nicaragua
While preparing for Wednesday’s talk at St Bride I rediscovered this in an old photo album from my 1998 travels in Central America. It is from Nicaragua, celebrating 1 May, International Workers’ Day. I believe this may be my first ever ghostsign photo, predating the fountain […]

My first Ghostsign, from Nicaragua


Montréal street scene with ghostsign in archival image 1
‘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 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


Fragment of hand-painted sign for Lewis Stone 11
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


Screen shot from the Sign Painter's Dream
The Sign Painter’s Dream from WVPT on Vimeo. The above episode of Reading Rainbow featured a reading of Roget Roth’s children’s book, The Sign Painter’s Dream. That ends at about ten minutes in and then it cuts to some interesting material about Times Square’s ‘spectaculars’, […]

The Sign Painter’s Dream








Watercolour by Dana Forrester showing two classic cars in front of a painted wall sign for Wrigley's Doublemint gum 1
Work on my book means that I haven’t been blogging as diligently as usual so this is getting back to it. Through William Stage (author of ‘Ghost Signs‘) I became acquainted with American watercolour artist Dana Forrester. Dana is an artist who uses ghostsigns in […]

Dana Forrester, ghostsigns and classic cars