My fascination with brand design started with the soda-pop realm. I’d always loved leafing through old magazines and usually paid more attention to the advertising in them than the articles. Because my father had a collection of Life magazines beginning with the first issue in 1936 and continuing through the World War II years, I had ample exposure to plenty of advertising from that era. Soft drink ads were plentiful and even before seeing or owning the actual bottles, I was aware of the label and packaging designs, and how the designs changed from year to year. (When I was a kid, my dad also gave me an old Coca-Cola bottle that helped trigger what ended up being an collecting obsession.) After finding the vintage bottles in the Evanston garage, I set out to find examples of as many design and label variations as I could. In the 1970s, resale, junk, and “antique” stores had plenty of them available for next to nothing, and I grabbed them up at every opportunity. So you can see the original discovery, I’ve put an asterisk (*) by the bottles that were originally part of the “Evanston Garage Find.”
Spending time with these bottles inspired me to be sensitive to the evolution of logo and trademark graphic design. I soon started collecting all sorts of examples of packaging, from Lucky Strike cigarette packs to Campbell’s Soup cans and other mainstream brand name products that showed a clear genesis of evolution. I’m just glad I was able to gobble up the stuff before it was officially identified as collectible. Soon my surroundings looked like an advertising history warehouse. I stopped being a collector and transitioned into a curator. (That’s what I tell myself to justify the compulsion….)
My fascination didn’t stop with Coke, but continued on to Coke’s other brands.
Now let’s jump to some of the other soft-drink bottles in the J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc. studio collection….
The following beer bottles were all grabbed up at the Stormville (NY) Flea Market one sunny Sunday in 1992.