View Ads of San Francisco in a larger map
I’m currently working on two slight variations of the Ghost Sign Mapping Project. The main map contains all the ghost signs in eastern San Francisco. The second map, pictured above, contains only the product/brand advertising signs. Created in March as a blog post for my day job (I work in advertising), it has been updated to reflect the last four months worth of sign research. Enjoy!
Crocker Building, 2 Post Street
And here I thought the key to success was either failure, preparedness, hard work, positive thinking, or self confidence. Or perhaps the key to success is using full-frontal nudity to spread your message. Oh sexually suggestive architecture, don’t ever change.
Finally someone left the gate unlocked! As seen in this blog post, there’s a very intriguing Owl Cigar sign overlooking this alley. Wrapping around two sides of 921 Post Street, I’ve had trouble pinpointing where this sign was originally meant to be viewed from. The back side of the sign isn’t visible from Post, isn’t visible from Geary, and is only vaguely visible from Hyde. So where was it meant to be viewed from?
Peekabo, I sorta see you. As shot from Hyde
Here is another locked gate that I greatly dislike:
Actually, this gate is often unlocked but Comcast vans are usually blocking the Nestle sign. My kingdom for some bolt cutters and the ability to hot wire a car!
Given the sign’s western-facing direction, that it’s considerably less dilapidated than the surrounding corrugated metal, and the modern can shape & pull tab I’m guessing this sign is “fake old” (or at least restored). However, I couldn’t find a lot on this specific ad/campaign so I’m unsure at this point. Still a gorgeous sign with a great retro color scheme. The sign says:
You’ll look better and love it!
Drink Nestle Sweet Success
Creamy Milk Chocolate
The front of the building can be seen here.
Until recently, there was a twin Nestle Sweet Success sign above CounterSpace on Mission at 9th. This has been effectively obscured by new high rise construction on Jessie Street although it can still be viewed on Google Maps. Oh hai Nestle sign! *waves*
I want in this parking lot! Ghost signs stretch down the length of the Helen Hotel (formerly the El Rosa Hotel), a small SRO hotel from 1906. Besides the more visible/legible 7Up and hotel signs there are two others running the length of this building. Well preserved and entirely legible signs – except for the odd angle from which they’re currently viewable. Like I said, I take issue with this locked gate. Continue reading
Sometimes I fall irrationally in love with certain buildings. Like this one on 17th and Texas in San Francisco. I understand wanting to cover up graffiti and tamp down on blight but really? Magenta, silver, and peach paint on a brick building? That is a travesty of building preservation/restoration.
But at the same time, what a beautiful contrast! The layers of paint, the overgrown bed of poppies, the boarded up arched doorway, the double layered signage, the off centered balance. I find it quite aesthetically pleasing even if it’s tragically neglected. I wonder what it looks like inside…
Instagram by ihazrabies
I know this happened awhile ago but I’m still angry. This was one of the best storefront murals in the Mission; reduced to nothingness by a few subpar taggers. While 24th Street my be impoverished by his absence, in my mind’s eye Mr. Burbujas still lives on. In my mind’s eye he was never tagged, never whitewashed, never erased. In my mind’s eye he continues to smile down on the corner of 24th and Florida while enthusiastically feeding dirty underwear to his equally enthusiastic friends. Whimsy is dead! Long live whimsy!
On second though, perhaps “whimsical” isn’t the best term to describe Mr. Burbujas. Continue reading
I find this silly mural on the side TriMark Economy Restaurant Fixtures infinitely entertaining. Why is the chef taking his pile of dirty dishes to the oven? And why is he mustache height to the range? Talk about a fire hazard…
Peking Express on Center Street in downtown Berkeley. It’s a takeout eat takeout kinda world! NOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM
I have an obsession with signage featuring animals/creatures/mascots eating their own kind. It’s like cannibalism, only adorable in that anthropomorphization-gone-wrong kinda way. “I am so cute and delicious that I would eat myself! You should take this as a recommendation to come eat me too!” Of course, my favorite example is this sign/mural from 24th Street in San Francisco. Everyone in this tableau is just so HAPPY to be there. That pig is just so EXCITED to be in that pan. And let’s not talk about the butcher pig and his decapitated friend. Some things are better left unsaid.
Here is the current state of the Ghost Sign Mapping Project. I’ve documented around 250 signs/buildings spanning over two pages worth of Google Map points. There’s still some minor work to be done in SOMA, North Beach, Bernal Heights, and the Mission as well as MAJOR work to be done in the Dogpatch, Russian Hill, Pacific Heights, Japan Town, the Western Addition, Upper/Lower Haight, Potrero and Noe Valley. I’m still planning to adhere to the original map boundaries of everything north of Bernal Heights/Glen Park and east of Twin Peaks, Golden Gate Park, and the Presidio. Could this change at some point? Perhaps but not likely. It’s taken about nine months of work to get to this point. I’m guessing it will take another three to five to complete the project as is.
And as always. Blue = Building/Business sign. Red = Ad/Brand sign. Green = Indecipherable. Purple = Covered up or demolished since time of post.
See any errors or omissions on this map? Let me know!
View Ghost Sign Map of San Francisco in a larger map