These are original sketches for Japanese match box labels created in the 1930s by an anonymous graphic artist. Rendered in black and white, they were meant to print in a single color. Some are drawn and lettered on slick paper remnants, others were produced on the backs of photographs, like the snap shot below. They were done for hotels and restaurants—all with lettering, some with simple imagery.
These original drawings are unique insofar as most labels were printed in multiple colors on letterpress.
For more Steven Heller, check out Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility, one of the many Heller titles available at MyDesignShop.com.