Throughout his career, Alex Steinweiss (1917 - 2011) was art director at Columbia Records, London, Decca and A & R records. He was the man behind the record cover's very existence - before him records were sold in plain wrappers, no branding, no design, no marketing.
“I got this idea that the way they were selling these albums was ridiculous. The covers were just big brown, tan or green paper. I said: “Who the hell’s going to buy this stuff? There’s no push to it. There’s no attractiveness. There’s no sales appeal.” So I told them I’d like to start designing covers.”
Art & Artists have written a really interesting 6-part biography illustrated with a massive collection of cover designs spanning his extensive career. Check it out here.
These beautifully detailed and lettered cigar labels are from a collection over on Letterology. It's an interesting post showing the elaborate designs introduced to establish more sophisticated looking brand styles and prevent counterfeits being easily produced. Check out the full post here.
Colourful illustrations, charming but lo-fi print and wonderful lettering all come together on these Sicilian fruit wrappers to turn an unremarkable, everday item into something beautiful.
I'm always amazed at the level of detail on packaging like this, that for the most part goes totally unnoticed.
#128 - Vintage bulb packaging
. I just saw that the lovely Maraid
was selling some vintage bulb packaging on Ebay (can't believe I missed them!), anyway it reminded me that I had a few somewhere and here they are.
A DR. G. Fischer Autolicht car bulb for a Helphos spotlight (left), a British Electric Lamps Ltd. decorative bulb and a neon crucifix light bulb. Maybe I'll start collecting these too!
With Guy Fawkes tomorrow I thought it was a good excuse to post up some of Jason Liebig's fabulous collection of 1980's fireworks packaging.
This huge collection is pasted into a scrapbook, above are a few of my favourites, but there are pages and pages in his Flickr set
, with 3 or 4 packages on each - I'm guessing Jason enjoyed the 5th November growing up!
I was very happy to see the Retro Tesco
back for a second year at Goodwood Revival
this weekend - a typical 1960's Tesco store, complete with products in vintage packaging (many of which were for sale), period dressed staff and authentic signage.
The shelves were stacked with a mix of vintage products and packages for display purposes only that sat alongside modern products with classic packaging (like Lyon's Golden Syrup and Wrigley's Chewing Gum) and modern products re-packaged in a vintage style that could all be purchased.
I loved the single product displays like Double Diamond and Fairy with loads of the products stacked high. It's great to see all the old packages on the shelves together and really good fun buying them at the 60's style check-out. I hope it's there again next year!
If you want to have a virtual tour of the Retro Tesco there's a short video here
We're really looking forward to the launch of Fuel's new book, Own Label: Sainsbury's Design Studio
. Due for release in October, it looks in detail at Sainsbury's 'own label' packaging created between 1962 and 1977 by it's in-house design team headed by Peter Dixon.
This era of Sainsbury's packaging has always been a good source of inspiration for designers - it's modernist style, simple graphics and bright colours are a winning combination. "Their striking modernity pushed the boundaries, reflecting a period full of optimism. They also helped build Sainsbury’s into a brand giant, the first real ‘super’ market of the time. This book examines and celebrates this paradigm shift that redefined packaging design, and led to the creation of some of the most original packaging ever seen."Images copyright Fuel Design & Publishing.Via CR Blog.
#112 - Vintage 'The Young Artist' Watercolours
. I picked this little beauty up on a boot sale for a bargain 20p and even though I only bought if for the lovely box, it has a full set of watercolours still inside - shame I can't paint!
The packaging and colour palate screams 1950's (1957 it seems) and I love the paintbrush graphic. All-in-all a very well spent 20p.
See more fabulous vintage packaging and ephemera in our reference box
Who would have guessed that bread packaging could be so great?!
Bread used to be packaged in a waxed paper and sealed at either end with a sticker (in fact in the UK some brands still use the waxed paper, but heat sealed with a glue at the ends instead of with stickers).
These fine examples are waxed, bread wrappers from the 40's & 50's. I think the Victory Vitality Bread is my favourite because if it's simplicity, although the Skylark is giving it a run for it's money (it's that little chef hat on the skylark graphic!).
Se more of the collection here
. Via the How to be a Retronaut.
#111 - Vintage Lemon drink labels.
I've already posted about the lime drink
and orange drink
labels I bought as part of a collection, so here are the lemon ones; C&C
(Cantrell & Cochrane) Lemonade
' Kia-Ora Low calorie Lemon Drink
and Sunparlor Lemonade
with 'New turn off cap!
There's something about the print quality and design on these labels that really appeals to me. Sunparlor is my favourite of this bunch - I Just love the slightly off set startburst and the weird centred, but to the right contents info.
Cute, original illustrations and sketches by designer Daphne Padden
in the 1970's, bought from her estate sale (she died in 2009) by the very lucky Quad Royal
They discovered she did quite a lot of packaging design in the 70's, mainly for M&S (or St Michael as it was back then) and kept the original design sketches as well as the finished packaging which is really great to see.
I love seeing the original sketches more than the finished design - they have so much more character. So thanks Quad Royal
for sharing your bounty!Quad Royal
have been researching and championing Daphne Padden's design work for some time, so there's lots more to read see here
.Images copyright Quad Royal.
#108 - Vintage French, Lait En Poudre
(powdered milk) tin
. This delightful 300g tin of powdered milk was produced by the Société France-Lait in St Martin Belle-Roche.
I love it's 2 colour print and the overprint created by the dark green on the excess pale green around the pale green type and graphics. I also like the little factory graphic on the France graphic.
Too pretty (and big) for the reference box, this one lives happily on the plan chest in the window enjoying admiring glances from passers-by.
See more vintage packaging and ephemera here
#106 - Vintage Orange Drink labels
. Here are the orange drink labels that came in the collection along with the Lime Cordial
ones I bought a couple of weeks ago.
They've all got something interesting to me; the Safeway one (top) is actually gold and has great 'orangeade' type - random, but fun. It's the NAAFI logo I like on the middle label and on the Batemans (bottom) it's the little orange graphics.
There are still the Lemonade and Ginger Beer ones to come!
#105 - Vintage Lime Juice Cordial labels
. I recently came across a small collection of juice and soft drink labels to add to the reference box. I'm not sure of dates, but would guess late 60's early 70's.
I love the simplicity of the Sainsbury's one (top) and the overlays on the Hooper Struve graphics (bottom), but those limes on the C&C label (middle) look like they've seen better days!
The collection also includes Orange cordial, ginger beer and lemonade labels from a similar era - watch this space!
#104 - Vintage OXO tin
, but no ordinary OXO tin! No, this one is a souvenir celebrating the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2 June 1953 - "LONG MAY SHE REIGN"
Whilst everyone seems to have Royal Wedding fever I thought it only fitting to share this fabulous little tin. It's not in the best condition, but I love it's kitschness - there's even a timeline of the Queens life on the inside of the lid (below).
If you get bored over the Bank Holiday (or any day really) make a cuppa and have a good look through our reference box