Blog: Reference box

From the reference box #69

#69 - Dewhurst Butchers leaflet - 'Make a meal of our price cuts'. I picked up this leaflet at a boot sale for free along with loads of other ephemera that a stall holder was left with at the end of the day!

I love the bright yellow front and how it contrasts with the big red chunk of meat. It's a very functional design - there's loads of information and offers thrown in there but it's easy to read. It's not an amazing design by a long way, but it works, it's interesting and it definitely has a certain charm - I think that's why I like it.

I'm guessing, looking at the prices, that it's from the early 80's when high street butchers were still common and the competition was strong. I don't know why, but I do find it funny that butchers used to put out leaflets.

Dig deep into the reference box here, for more interesting ephemera and vintage design.

Fri 19 Mar 2010

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Reference box


From the reference box # 68

#68 - set of 4 stamps celebrating 50 years of the BBC (1922 - 1972).

Designed by David Gentleman and released on 13 September 1972, these stamps have great illustrations of equipment significant in the history of broadcasting; 3p - Microphones, 5p - Horn Loudspeaker, 7 1/2p - TV Camera and 9p - Oscillator and spark transmitter (Marconi/Kemp experiments 1897).

Here are the first day covers for each stamp, which are also pretty cool...

See more David Gentleman designed stamps from the reference box here.

From the reference box # 67

#67 - His Master's Voice Gramophone record. This is a late 30's/early 40's recording of Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet (part 3 &4) composed and conducted by Serge Koussevitzky and played by theThe Boston Symphony Orchestra which first premiered in 1938.

I didn't know much about gramophone records at all, but thanks to Earl Okin's informative site, I've discovered that the red label on this record gives an indication of the quality of the record and the artist. The best artists/most expensive records of the time had red labels, the next level down had black labels and the cheapest records had brown or plum labels. You can also see that, 'The Grampaphone Co Ltd.' (the original name before they bought the rights to the iconic Nipper and 'His Master's Voice' trademark) was still printed at the bottom of the labels along with the recording angel trademark, which was still used and preferred in some countries as the main graphic.

I bought this record for one reason only and that is the quality of the print. It's only 2 colour, but has such a gorgeous feel. You can see the indentation left from the press, the colour is really vibrant and there's a bit of overprint in areas - everything I love about real print. The logos and graphics look really good in two colour against the natural colour stock too. I especially like the '£' and record graphics.

See more from the reference box here.

Mon 01 Mar 2010

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Reference box

1 Comment

From the reference box # 66

#66 - Modern University Building UK stamps, September 1971. A really striking set of stamps designed by Nicholas Jenkins.

They each utilise large blocks of colour and simple, geometric illustrations to showcase four amazing 'modern' university buildings:

3p - Physical Sciences Building, Aberystwyth University College
5p - Faraday Building, University of Southampton
7 1/2p - Engineering Department, University of Leicester
9p - Hexagon Restaurant, University of Essex

Mine came on this lovely First Day Cover from Middlesex with the stamps images also printed on the envelope...

See more First Day Covers and wonderfully designed stamps in our reference box here.

Mon 22 Feb 2010

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Reference box , stamps


From the reference box # 65

#65 – Cook books from The Stork Cookery Service - ‘Stork Goes Continental’, 1954 and ‘Party Time with Stork’, 1958.

I love the little Stork Magarine recipe booklets and after buying these two recently I decided to find out more about them. Unilever have a little bit of history here...

“Stork was first introduced as a branded margarine in the 1920. In the 1930's, Stork taste tests began on Radio Lyons. Advertising campaigns included "The Energy Giver" to dispel thoughts that margarine was unhealthy. The Stork Cookery Service was launched in 1939 to help housewives discover cooking with margarine when food rationing began.”

When rationing ended in 1954, Stork and The Stork Cookery Service reappeared in the marketplace and over the following 20 years they produced a huge range of booklets and books with instructions and recipes for all ages and all levels of experience; from ‘How to make a Sandwich’ to ‘The Art of Icing’.

Some of the recipes in the party one sound really good, I might have to get my pinny on and bake some cakes this weekend!

If you like these, I’m sure you’ll like the other items in our reference box – have a root here.

From the reference box #64

#64 - Banking Money bags/pockets for Barclays Bank Ltd., Lloyds Bank Ltd. and Midland Bank Ltd. (now HSBC). I picked these up at the weekend from a local flea market. They came in a bundle with a few of each one, most of which are unused.

I think they're from the early 70's as here in the UK we went decimal in 1971, losing the pound, shilling and pence in favour of just pounds and pence with an 18 month change-over period. This bundle of bags includes both decimal and pre-decimal nominations so I'm guessing they are from this change-over period.

The little 25p one at the bottom is my favourite, partly becasue of the big, thick black number 25 and partly because I miss 1/2 pence pieces!

Check out more wonderful items in the reference box here.

Mon 18 Jan 2010

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Reference box


From the reference box #63

#63 - Set of six Nederlandse Antillen stamps - 12c to 50c. I bought these stamps because I liked the simplicity of the illustrations and really loved the flamingos in my favourite colour combo (pink and brown) on the 50c one (above).

I knew nothing about Nederlandse Antillen (formerly known as the Netherlands West Indies), which I now know to be 2 groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea forming part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The 2 groups are the 'Leeward Islands', - Bonaire & Curacao and the 'Windward Islands' - Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten.

This set of stamps includes one with 'Aruba' on it and 2 stamps of different face value for Sint Eustatius. I'm not convinced this is a full set and I wonder if each island had a different stamp for each denomination? - that would explain why there are 2 for St Eustatius here??

It's quite frustrating really. I've been able to find loads of information about the history of the islands, of which there is lots, including the fact that the Windward Islands were discovered by Christopher Colombus in 1493), but I haven't been able to source the designer/illustrator of any of these stamps or find a definitive issue date - one source suggests 1965 and another 1958. If I do find out any more information I'll be sure to post it up.

From the reference box #62

#62 - Vintage 90th Birthday photograph. I love vintage photography and collect old photos of cats and Volkswagens, but whilst searching through stacks of photos in antique stores and boot sales I often come across images with a story, either visible in the image or written on the reverse - a date, a shopping list, a message - something that gives a little peak into that persons life and I love that even more than the images themselves.

This is one of my favourite non vw or cat related ones found amongst a batch I bought at a bootsale. On the back it reads, in really shaky handwriting:

"This was taken on my 90th birthday June 1/43 with the bake Ida made for me with 90 candles on it which I had to blow out - M.L.Rose"

Such a lovely note, and how big is that cake - I hope she had lots of friends to share it with!

There's more vintage photography based items in the reference box here, here and here.

Thu 03 Dec 2009

Posted under: Photography , Ephemera , Reference box


From the reference box #61

#61 - 4 British stamps commemorating Racket Sports; Lawn tennis (8 1/2p), Table tennis (10p), Squash (11p), Badminton (13p). Issued on the 12 January 1977, this set was designed by Andrew Restall, but in a totally different, much bolder illustration style to this set he designed in 1983. I personally prefer this more graphic style with the silhouetted figures and bright, blocks of colour, although I'm not sold on the colour combinations.

The best thing about these stamps for me though, is how they show the paths of the balls and the shuttlecock - it's really interesting to track their movements throughout a game and to see which games are faster as their paths are more direct with less curves and more bounces.

Take a look at more reference box items here.

From the reference box # 60

#60 - Europa, Games and Toys - set of 4 commemorative, Royal Mail Stamps first issued on 16 May 1989.

I know, more stamps, but they are very nice ones. I seem to have been buying loads of them recently - I can't help myself!

This bold and colourful set were designed by Dan Fern. Each stamp celebrates a different types of toys or games; 19p - ToyTrains & Airplanes, 27p - Building Blocks, 32p - Dice & Board Games, 35p - Toy Robots & Doll's Houses.

I really love the geometric illustration style combined with the really bright colours and thick black outlines - how cute is the robot face peeking out of the last one?

One thing on these stamps that I haven't come across before is the 'Europa' graphic under the Queen's head. It turns out that 'Europa' stamps are produced once every year and have been since 1956. They are stamps designed around a common theme in a number of countries at the same time. Originally they represented the 6 founding members of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), then from 1959 the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) and since 1993, PostEurop. Occassional issues, have seen all the countries involved issue the same stamp design, for example in 1984 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of CEPT and in 2000 to celebrate the new millenium.

More stamps and wonderful pieces of ephemera can be found here.

From the reference box #59

#59 - Commemorative UK postage stamps, celebrating British Fairs.

Issued on 5 October 1983, they're not very old, but the illustration style and colours really caught my eye. They were designed by Andrew Restall DA to illustrate the different kinds of local 'fairs'; Merry-go-round (16p), Big wheel, Helter skelter and Performing animals (20 1/2p), Sode-shows (28p) and Early produce fairs (31p).

The contrast between the 3 fairground/circus style ones in the bright oranges and pinks and the produce fairs one in natural greens and browns is great, but it's the details I'm drawn to in these particular stamps - the little cat in the foreground of the 31p one and the little pelican in the foreground of the 20 1/2p one.

For more wonderful stamps and items of vintage ephemera you might like to have a dig around in here.

From the reference box # 58

#58 - Vintage matchbook covers. These are a selection from the collection I bought a couple of weeks ago. They're a great mixture, originating from the UK, Germany, Norway, France and China - it's really interesting how similar the styles are.

The best type for me is the 'AGIO' on the first one and the number '8' on the 'Darcy' one, but they've all got charm in their own way, be it their colour palate, typography, design or illustration style. I never get bored of looking at them.

From the reference box # 57

#57 - Polish matchbook labels, from a collection I found at a carboot sale this weekend. Someone had lovingly collected and displayed 112 labels in an old exercise book that I bought fro the bargain proce of 50p!

I don't know the exact date of this set, but I suspect they're from the mid 60's. "UPRAWIAJ SPORT" translates to read, "I DO SPORTS", so I wonder if they're some kind of government campaign encouraging exercise and sports (ironic I know on a matchbox, probably used by a smoker).

Whatever their reason for being, I'm drawn to the simplicity of the single colours and the strength of the shapes created by the bold silhouettes. It's the little things that I really love though, like the visible crop marks in some of the corners.

I'll post the rest of the collection over the next few weeks, meanwhile check out my other posts about matchbook labels:

From the reference box #11
From the reference box #23
From the reference box #39
From the reference box #42
Czech Matchbook Labels
Japanese Match Labels
Matchbook Covers
Mystery Parcel
Saul Bass Designed Matchbooks
Volkswagen Matchbooks

Tue 13 Oct 2009

Posted under: Design , Ephemera , Reference box


From the reference box # 56

#56 - Aeroplane and Astronautics magazine cover, 21 December 1961. I've posted about this publication before but have never been able to find out who designed and art directed it* during the 60's, which is a real shame as they designed some great covers.

I came across this festive beauty at the weekend and love how the plane silhouettes and dials have been used to create the Christmas tree and baubles - simple, but effective.

* I'm going to have another go at finding this designer and I'll update the post if I have any success.

Mon 05 Oct 2009

Posted under: Design , Reference box , Magazine


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.


Welcome to the Delicious Industries blog. We're an independent design studio based in Brighton, UK and this is our scrapbook packed full of design, illustration, photography & typography inspiration. Check out our work here.

Blog archive