package design

Eat, Drink, and Read Menus

Jim Heimann’s latest foray into cultural documentation, Menu Design in America 1850-1985, almost leaves off where his earlier (1998) May I Take Your Order: American Menu Design 1920 – 1960 left off. And there is a touch of his (1996) Car Hops and Curb Service: A History of American Drive-In Restaurants (1920-1960) too. But...

Piedra Blanca + Alex Steinweiss

Much has been written about Alex Steinweiss, the first creator of original record album cover art and inventor of the LP cardboard package. I’ve contributed some to that body of  literature, as have Jennifer McKnight-Trontz in For the Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss, Kevin Reagan in Alex Steinweiss: Creator of the...

Pictures of Matchbook Men

My family recently inherited a collection of old matchbooks. There are probably about 200 or so matchbooks in the box they came in, all of them from the US, and most of them from California, specifically San Francisco. Being a resident of San Francisco I’d  heard about the famous “The Old Poodle Dog” (second...

Phillumeny and Phillumenists

Collecting matchbox labels is called phillumeny; its obsessive proponents are phillumenists. One reason there are so many phillumenists is because there are untold matchbox (and matchbook) graphics that can be found in virtually all corners of the globe. Among the industry leaders Japan was exceptionally prodigious, and the designs produced were various, plentiful, and...

The Cool Fresh Ultra Mint Branding Paradox

The average pharmacy is a cornucopia (or morass) of mint flavors. Sweet, cool, ultra, radiant, clean, fresh, powerful, spearmint, peppermint, cinna mint, mint stripe, minty fresh stripe and more. That’s a lot of branding. Yet mint comes in even more varieties:  Banana, Moroccan, Egyptian, Bergamont, Lavender, Macho, Habek, Lemon, Pineapple, Chocolate and Pennyroyal. Why...

Pepsi Hits Coke With Bottle

The bottle wars – plant vs. petroleum based containers – are heating up between Coke and Pepsi, notes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (here): Two years after Coca-Cola Co. unveiled a bottle made partly from plant materials, PepsiCo says it is introducing a better one. The Purchase, N.Y. company says it has developed the world’s first...

Today's Obsession: The Scrabble Scramble

Today in Obsessions, we’re gonna look back at Monday in Obsessions. Andrew Capener, he of the amazing Scrabble set, emailed me to say that he’s getting a huge response. Apparently every designer this side of Dubai wants a set. Andrew’s taking email signups at his site for people who want to be notified when...

Today's Obsession: Designer Scrabble

Here’s a lovely object: a Scrabble set made for type geeks. All the requisite items are in place: attention to material, tradition, and lovely, lovely typography. Sadly, it’s not a real product—Andrew Capener designed it as part of his student work. Frankly, I would buy the crap out of this. It’d be pretty great...