Open your eyes, look up and discover ‘ghostsigns’, the fading remains of hand-painted advertising on walls.
Sam ‘ghostsigns’ Roberts leads tours of these faded signs in Stoke Newington in North East London, just down the road from the Type Tasting studio. For the London Design Festival this year he is leading a new walk through the streets of Southwark in South London hunting for the fading remains of painted signs from years gone by. The tour will reveal some of London’s most iconic signs, exploring the local, advertising and design history that they convey.
If you prefer your sign painting fresh off the brush you can try your hand at painting letters in the iconic surrounds of Borough Market with sign legend Mike Meyer “paint, brushes, lettering and laughs guaranteed”. To tie in with this there is a double-bill screening of the Sign Painters movie and 21st Century Victorian, a short film about UK signwriter and fairground artist Joby Carter who says that as a fairground signwriter he considers himself to be a showman. Find out more.
The Type Tasting studio turned into a creative wonderland of ink and hand painted letters this weekend. To coincide with the London screenings of Sign PaintersMike Meyer, one of the film’s stars, came to town to deliver an intensive two-day sign painting workshop which was organised by Sam from Better Letters. Mike teamed up with the Brilliant Sign Co. and under their expert guidance we filled the Type Tasting studio with inky lettering.
Above is Club Labrynth by Sam Roberts from Ghostsigns who came along to Sunday’s Dalston Type Safari. He explains that “For me, Club Labrynth is the earliest memory I have of Dalston as a destination. Back in the mid-1990s it was the weekly hardcore/jungle night at the legendary Four Aces nightclub… The provocation of memory was an unexpected aspect of the Type Safari, and there were other long-term Hackney residents on the walk sharing their own recollections.”
Roberts’ work photographing and researching the fading remains of advertising painted on walls (a.k.a. ghostsigns) often leads to interesting questions, such as ‘what is a beanfeast?’. The full text of this Highgate sign is ‘Catering for beanfeasts, parties & clubs’. Roberts goes on to explain that “However, beans in this case aren’t the baked variety, but the accounting type. A beanfeast is a party thrown by an employer if the end-of-year ‘bean counting’ has revealed a positive set of accounts. The modern equivalent would be the Christmas party and the deployment of ‘beans’ to pay for it.”