History of Advertising Trust Ghostsigns Archive

In 2009 I pitched the idea of a photographic archive of ‘ghost’ signs (fading painted signs on walls) to the History of Advertising Trust. The signs are rarely protected by architectural listings, and don’t lend themselves to stored in museums, so the idea was to produce something online. The History of Advertising Trust Ghostsigns Archive launched a year later.

Key Responsibilities

  • Sourcing photographic contributions from across the UK and Ireland. (The approach is discussed in more detail in this article.)
  • Curating and labelling the final selection of signs for publication online, initially over 600, subsequently more than 1,000.
  • Organising the launch event and related publicity which included articles in press for both the creative industry and archives sector.


Sam has done a wonderful job organizing the Ghostsigns project. He started with an idea, found people who shared his interest and enthusiasm, and turned it into something bigger and better than we ever could have imagined. He has a genuinely egalitarian approach to the project — encouraging a wide range of people to be involved, and letting everyone know that their contribution is valued.

M.J. Maccardini