Ration Design

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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During World War II, from 1942 on, in order to get groceries it was necessary to have a ration book. Rationing regulated the amount of commodities that could be bought during the ration period. For instance, sugar was rationed in May 1943 and required “Sugar Buying Cards.” Registration for the books, stamps and cards took place in localities. Each family was asked to send only one member for registration and be prepared to describe all other family members.

Coupons were distributed based on family size, but possession of a coupon book did not guarantee that a good would be available. Once a person’s ration stamps were used up for the month, she couldn’t buy any more of that type of food. This meant planning meals carefully, being creative with menus, and not wasting food. More than 8,000 ration boards across the country administered the program.

This was a design problem that had various iterations. The ration coupon/stamps in this version were iconic and clearly created by a good yet anonymous designer.


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