The Gift (Cards) That Keep on Giving

I’ve held on to more used Target gift cards than I’m comfortable admitting—and yet here I am, making yet another public confession about my propensity for over-accumulating. Apparently, I’m not alone in thinking that Target gift cards are the best …

Weird What You Can Find at a Roman Mercatino

I never had the least expectation of finding ancient artifacts of my extended family’s family businesses at a Roman mercatino (flea market), but here they are. Confections from the confectioners.

The Bottle's the Thing: The Branding Evolution of Soda Pop

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 …

For Foodies and Designers: A New Art

GE was just one of many corporations that tried to help the female consumer with household duties. Swell, beautifully designed meals were the order of the day. Of course the day (or year) was 1937; America was still strangled by …

Vintage Orange Crush Soda Bottles Take a Ribbing

I grew up drinking Orange Crush and hearing my mom tell stories of how it used to come in brown bottles, supposedly to protect the flavor. But by the time I was a kid, those days were long gone, and …

Packaging the Brand: Avon Calling

D.H. McConnell, a traveling book salesman, founded the now iconic Avon brand out of his California Perfume Company in 1886. He realized that “his female customers were far more interested in the free perfume samples he offered than his books.” …

Howdy 7Up!

I became interested in pop bottles (I grew up in the Chicago area where we all said “pop”) and related stuff when I was about 12 years old. I had gone inside an old garage that was attached to a …

Black Dahlia Murder, Part 2: The Victim’s Makeup

Wrapping up my interview with crime historian Joan Renner, we delve deeper into an unsolved murder mystery. Joan explores her theory that the victim’s Black Dahlia persona began when she was still alive. Read part one, with more details of …