Blog: Ephemera

From the reference box #55

#55 - Set of 4 UK postage stamps commemorating the ‘Centenary of the first Telephone call by Alexander Graham Bell’, issued 10 March 1976 and designed by Philip Sharland.

Each stamp depicts a different kind of person in society using the telephone - a Housewife (8 1/2p), Policeman (10p), District Nurse (11p) and an industrialist (13p).

The bright, blocks of colour and simplified graphic illustrations make these stamps really pop. I love the fact that they’ve put a mini in the background of the nurse one – such a stereotype!

My set, particularly the policeman, are covered in postmarks, the set below doesn't have any so you can really see how great the designs are.

To see what other wonders the reference box holds look here.

From the reference box #54

#54 - Centenary of the Universal Postal Union (1874 - 1974) commemorative stamps issued on the 12th June 1974.

They set was designed by illustrator Rosalind Dease. Each stamp celebrates a different service; 3 1/2p - P&O packet steamer Peninsular 1888, 5 1/2p - First official airmail Coronation 1911 (Farman H.F III biplane), 8p - Airmail blue van and postbox 1930, 10p - Imperial Airways flyingboat (Short S.21 Flying Boat Maia) 1937.

The simplicity of the silhouette style illustrations on the white backgrounds is refreshing and creates a fresh, clean look. I also like how the miniature postmarks add a flash of contrasting colour to brighten up the designs.

For more great stamp designs and other gorgeous items of ephemera take time to sift through the rest of our reference box.

Futurama - Ride into tomorrow!

This is a brochure produced in 1963 to stimulate interest in the General Motors-sponsored, 'Futurama' exhibit at the 1964/5 New York World's Fair.

It was actually Futurama II, an updated version of the popular 'Futurama' ride and exhibit at the 1939/40 event. It promised visitors a "ride into tomorrow" and portrayed what life would be like in 2004. I love the artists impressions of the exhibits and rides - I wonder if it actually looked this way when completed??

I found this on the wonderful Kickcan and Conkers, but if you fancy it for your ephemera collection it can be bought over at PaperHistory.

Images copyright PaperHistory.
Via Kickcan and Conkers.

Czech Matchbook Labels

I'm a sucker for matchbook labels and this Czechoslovakian set are just great - I really like the thick black outline on the vegetables. I think they translate to say, "The progress and preparing meals - don't cook too long, well but quickly wash vegetables and use stainless tools".

Via Found in Mom's Basement.

Thu 03 Sep 2009

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Illustration


From the reference box # 53

#53 - British Post Office Technology Stamps, 1969. I love this set of stamps designed by legendary stamp designer, David Gentleman. They were issued in October 1969 to celebrate Post Office Technologies; the National Grid, Telecommunications - International Subscriber Dialing, Telecommunications - Pulse Code Modulation and Postal Mechanisation - Automatic Sorting.

David Gentleman has created over 100 British stamp designs over the last 40 years. This bold and bright set demonstrates a classic 'Gentleman' technique - when designing individual stamps he considers the effect of the overall sheet of stamps. If you look at the designs above, each has an element that bleeds off so when multiples of the same stamp are placed together (ie. on a sheet) the pattern is continuous. Simple, but effective!

If you like these I'm pretty sure you'll like these Jerzy Karo and Peter Murdoch designed stamps too.

Wed 02 Sep 2009

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Reference box , stamps


Know Your States!

I love this new addition to my dial/wheel collection - it's a Tip Top Bread promotion from 1957 in immaculate condition. It has great shading on the Statue of Liberty and I really like the use of their logo at the bottom.

The dial reveals each US state, what it's noted for, it's flower, population, area in square miles, it's capital and it's nickname. Very informative. Until today I had no idea that Delaware was known as the Diamond state, that Minnesota's flower is the Moccasin or that the capital of Wyoming is Cheyenne!

If like me, you have a thing for dial/wheel contraptions take a look at some of my collection here, here, here and here.

Tue 25 Aug 2009

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Inspiration


From the reference box # 52

#52 - Centenary of Royal Institute of Chemistry stamps, 1977 celebrating British Achievement in Chemistry.

Designed by Jerzy Karo, each stamp commemorates a different Nobel prize winning achievement from the last 100 years; Steroids - Conformational Analysis (8 1/2p), Vitamin C - synthesis (10p), Starch - Chromatography (11p) and Salt - Crystallography (13p).

I love the Steroids one with the overprinting and really bright colours - it's a great stamp.

Mon 24 Aug 2009

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Reference box , stamps


From the reference box # 51

#51 - National Trust Paper Bag. I found this little bag in a stack of ephemera I bought at a boot sale. It had travel information inside from the late 70's, so I imagine it's also from around that time. I love it purely for the acorn graphic!

Tue 18 Aug 2009

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Reference box


From the reference box #50

#50 - British Technology Stamps, September 1966 depicting the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope, British Motor Cars, the SR N6 Hovercraft and Nuclear power (Windscale reactor).

When I first saw this set of stamps I really loved the top two because of how graphic and simple they are, but was confused why the bottom two seemed to be in a totally different style. These days a set of stamps is normally designed by the same people or company, but it seems in the 60's at least, it was common practice for two designers/illustrators to work on two stamps each. In this case, D Gillepie created the 4d and 6d (top two) and J Andrew Restall designed the 1/3 and 1/6 (bottom two).

I find it funny that no attempt was made to keep consistency through the set - the Gillespie ones have no description and have quite large Queen's heads in white compared to Restall's ones, which do have a description and have smaller Queen's heads in black. Even the typefaces they've used are different.

For more stamps, ephemera and random bits of inspiration, take a delve into our reference box.

From the reference box #49

#49 - Energy stamps, 1978. These stamps were issued on 25 January 1978 to highlight the importance of Energy in modern life, "our industrial strength and high standard of living depend on it's certain supply", to encourage, "greater efforts in the efficient use of energy and the elimination of wasteful practices" to preserve the resources we have and give, "scientists and technologists time to develop alternative and acceptable energy supplies".

The set of stamps and the First Day Cover (above) were designed by the great British designer, Peter Murdoch FSIAD - known Internationally for his wonderful cardboard furniture designs, his role as Special Projects Director for the 1968 Mexico Olympics (which included designing the collapsible, cardboard display systems, souvenirs and the newspaper kiosks) and for his many collaborations with fellow designer, Lance Wyman (Camino Real Hotel logo /signage and The Red Lion Disco logo in Mexico, Creative Parks Playground in Boston).

Our full collection of reference box items can be rummaged through here.

Japanese Match Labels

I came across these gorgeous 20's/30's Japanese Match Labels yesterday on Christian Northeast's blog, Lunch Tongue. He has a scapbook full of them and has posted a small selection. I really like them all as the illustration styles are great - but the legs have to be my favourite with the those tiny red heels.

Images copyright Christian Northeast.

Fri 31 Jul 2009

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Illustration


From the reference box #47

#47 - a Swiss letterhead from the 60's. I'm terrible at languages but I think the letter is in German and I'm pretty sure the 'V+S' is a tourist board logo. However I could be totally wrong, so if you have any info please get in touch.

I found it nestled amongst some bits of ephemera I bought a few weeks ago and really loved the logo, it's such a funny choice of typeface for such an official looking letter, but I think it's great. I especially like how the '+' has been reversed out of the 'V' to create the national flag - simple but effective!

If vintage design and ephemera do it for you, check out what else is in our reference box here.

Ephemera Assemblyman

Ephemera Assemblyman has some great vintage posters, photography and ephemera on his blog. There's loads to look at, but be warned once you start trawling through the collections it's hard to stop! Here are a few of my favourites...

Images copyright Ephemera Assemblyman.

Wed 22 Jul 2009

Posted under: Design , Ephemera


From the reference box #46

#46 - Commemorative 'British Textiles' stamps celebrating great British textile designers, designed by Peter Hatch and released in July 1982.

The set of four stamps showcase prints from (left to right); William Morris - 'Strawberry Thief', Steiner & Co. - 'Untitled', Paul Nash - 'Cherry Orchard' and Andrew Foster - 'Chevron'.

Check out more reference box goodies here.

From the reference box #44

#44 - British Gas 'Mr Therm' playing cards.

Mr Therm was designed in 1932 by Eric Fraser, I'm not sure what year these cards are from though. They say, 'Mr.Therm greets you warmly' and he does - I love the little glowing smiley face. A bargain for 50p!

Have a look at other reference box items here.

Mon 29 Jun 2009

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Reference box



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