Ghost Signs: An essential reference

Dotted around our cities are ephemeral signs, a reminder of advertising before commercial broadcasting with its blanket coverage urging one to buy.

This beautifully produced volume is a reminder of those early days when the most effective way of promoting your product was to have it painted on the side of a wall.

This work, the result of over 15 years’ research by Sam Roberts, who is the recognised authority on London’s Ghost Signs, accompanied by Roy Reed’s photos who has a lifetime’s experience photographing the urban landscape, gives us a fascinating reminder of our past way of life.

Nichè publisher, Išola Press, should be congratulated on allowing Eve Izaak to break traditional conventions of book design, its use of Moderat typeface, small folios and running headings, with expanded sub-heads, was a brave decision which was the perfect choice for this publication.

The book has numerous cross-references, clearly highlighted and key symbols giving the illustration’s their historical background. While confusing at first, once mastered, makes for a much clearer understanding of the book’s subject.

Sam was running a successful website and Twitter @GhostSigns filled with ghost sign sightings, and even gave tours of his well-researched subject. Using Kickstarter for seed finance coupled with Sam’s enthusiasm gives us a never bettered London book on the subject.

Edwardian London must have been a colourful time, with brightly painted adverts adorning so many walls, Sam Roberts explains in plenty of detail how this came about.

Many books containing 150 photos of London fall into the trap of becoming ‘coffee table’ publications, beautiful to peruse, but rarely of any use to the London aficionado having too little detail.

Ghost Signs has great illustrations: Peterkin custard, Gillette razors, Hovis bread, but the information contained within its covers will have you reaching up to your bookshelf time and again as a source of reference.

Thank you Išola Press for the opportunity to review Ghost Signs.

CabbieBlog-cabThis is not a sponsored post. The publication reviewed has been kindly donated by the author or publisher. CabbieBlog has not received any payment for writing this review and the opinions stated above are solely his own. All links here conform with guidelines set out in Write a Post.

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