10 Stunning Ghost Sign Photographs

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In a time long before digital printing and software based sign design, commercial signs were hand painted. But not to be attached to a wall or post – advertising was painted directly onto the walls of thriving industrial cities around the world.
We featured one of these painted signs back in our first Inspiring Sign Photography post and felt it was appropriate that these fading advertisements, once hand painted onto brick walls, were given a post of their own.

It was in the early 20th century that this type of sign was created by businesses wishing to publicise their products and services. Commercial signs have come a long way since this period, but many of the hand painted signs live on and can be seen all over the UK, France and the United States. The signs are now known as Ghost Signs due to their weathered and faded appearance, in addition to the fact that many have outlived the brands which they set out to publicise.

Panda Paints

by mdaines

The Ghostsigns Archive has documented over 700 examples which can be viewed at the History of Advertising Trust. In addition, Flickr has a Ghost Signs group with over 14,000 photos in its pool.

If you want to see more incredible photos of signage from the past, read our post on Inspiring Sign Photography.


Written by Create-Signs

May 13th, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Sign Photography