My vintage product design obsession shows no signs of lessening, and as though it knows what I want, flickr continues to scheme away, providing me with a horribly infinite well of images. While the “pools” or “groups” are so big as to be daunting, with categories like “vintage illustration” having something like 10,000 potentially day-destroying items in them, people’s individual sets are far more digestible and can–at times–be favourable to your fledgling attempts at time management.
There are hundreds of these things floating around flickr, but these are the five (plus one extra) I’ve found most enjoyable; I find myself returning to a few of them several times over and saving various jpegs into my “put these on a t-shirt one day” folder, an 8-year project that has produced exactly zero shirts. One day, I swear to you…
This guy has about a billion different transistor radios, radio boxes, radio rooms, and other radio things on here, sorted by brand, country, type, etc. My favorite are all these ones with the round, oversized speaker grills, which look incredible.
At a market in Brussels I once tried to buy an entire box of old Belgian and French matchbooks, but the guy was asking something like 20 euros for about 200 of them. There were so many, I couldn’t make the necessary evaluation as to whether or not it was worth the price–I just kept looking at various packages and trying to decide if, alltogether, they added up to something worth 20 euros. Probably.
Thanks to bad banana blog for this one. I found an old Belgian ID card at that same Brussels antique market, and it’s still kicking around. I’d love a few of these, though–badges are just way better. Can we get back to these, and away from ID cards? I know it’s completely cost-prohibitive, but come on. Imagine if we all carried individual little badges for every organization we belonged to, all wonderfully designed with our austere, serious-looking photos inside. I suppose our pockets would be prohibitively heavy, though. There goes that idea. Wallets and ID cards it is, then.
Thanks to Rosencrans Baldwin for pointing this one out. As he said, if only today’s inkjet-cartridge package designers would think of posterity.
There is plenty of great packaging being made today (check out www.thedieline.com if you don’t believe me), but the ridiculous cavalcade of solid, craftsmanship packaging that once existed is a lost art. Shelf packaging was one of the primary concerns for a product’s viability, back when 70% of the marketing outlets of today didn’t exist, and it was just plain necessary to put some work and thought into it. There are also industrial reasons for the posterity: plastic packaging wasn’t prevalent in the slightest, so the nature of the materials used lent itself to being designed upon. It’s not easy to spend money on a beautifully done piece of clear plastic today, when your customers are just going to cut into the thing with a pair of scissors anyway.
Not products, but street signs, this set recently got some notice on various blogs. I’m assuming the guy’s username (also called society in decline) is expressing his need to document these pieces of signage that are disappearing from the American landscape. I’m inclined to agree with him: as much as 1950s motel signs are trashy, overly kitsch, or just plain bad, anything beats a boring franchise sign you’ve seen 4,000 times before.
(and an extra): Bottle Caps
It’s not just because I enjoy various bottled beverages that these are awesome, although that does affect my judgement a little bit.