The Daily Heller: Ghosts of Signage Past

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This post was originally published in October 2016

“Ghostletters are fleeting witnesses,” says Tom Koch, author/editor of Ghostletters Vienna (Falter Verlag), “existing under the constant threat [of] being dismantled or painted over. They leave their traces all over the city—on storefronts and above shop entrances where lettering has been removed. Many have remained a visible part of the cityscape for years, if not decades.”


Ghostletters Vienna stands as a visual monument to these palimpsests of an urban microcosm that once was. In this important new book, the Viennese graphic designer Koch and photographers Daniel Gerersdorfer and Stephan Doleschal set out in search of the traces of these proud letters that once made up an essential part of Vienna’s visual identity. Ghostletters Vienna provides insights into the tradition of Viennese sign painting, recounts tales of what lies behind the facades, and suggests ways of tending to this entirely unique and special inheritance of the city.