Richmond, Virginia is full of history. You can see it from the cobblestone streets to the classic architecture. My favorite relics in this city are the ghost signs speckled throughout.
I'll admit, history was never my strongest subject in school. It's always been hard for me to wrap my head around the big picture ideas of wars and political eras, but I love small details and tangible objects that offer a glimpse into the past and make me feel like I was actually there.
I stumbled across the ghost signs website a few years ago. Founder Sam Roberts documents the faded advertisements painted on the sides of buildings around London, England and even gives tours of his discoveries. I believe that he has started a worldwide movement, encouraging passersby to enjoy their cities from a different angle — by looking up.
After persuading my fiancé to take photos of ghost signs with me one weekend, we set off on a whirlwind drive around Richmond capturing as many of these treasures as possible. I felt like I was in a new city, seeing everything with a fresh perspective. When we got home and examined the photos up close, I was in awe at the quirky letters and amazing textures that we found.
Below are some of my favorite finds. Click each image to enlarge so you can zoom in on the details. (All photos in this post © Chenla Ou.)
As I mentioned in my post about signage in fabulous Las Vegas, you can find great lettering inspiration if you simply survey your surroundings. Take advantage of the history in your neighborhood. Whether it's the way a drop shadow was created or even some fantastic texture resulting from years of decay, you're sure to find something that you can apply to your next lettering piece.