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A book celebrating the matchboxes of socialism

Did the designers of the former matchboxes think that they were not only designing a striking everyday object but enclosing a slice of the socialist era in a time capsule?

Her love of history and design flew Glasgow’s web designer Jane McDevitt to the library, where she came across a volume showcasing historic matchbox labels from around the world. The outstanding graphics of the Eastern Bloc stood out from the rest: they were colorful, modern, and played a socially important role. This is how Eastern graphics became Jane’s favorites, often reflecting the political system, so it’s no surprise that the labels often express power: national successes and the flourish of industry, but also public service information like hygiene, money-saving, alcohol consumption and road safety appeared. These messages are conveyed by eye-catching, mid-century bold contemporary design and vibrant colors.

Named Matchbloc, the book is a joint work of Jane McDevitt and Neal Whittington, processing a collection of hundreds of matchbox illustrations. The labels are from the 1950s to the 1980s, from Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia, Hungary and Germany. The book will not only delight collectors, but it also leaves behind a visually rich, extraordinary social archive. In addition to the book, the Matchbloc project also includes quality prints from the matchbox collection, which features a green solution in both design and packaging. They also support the organization of political refugees forced into Glasgow with one pound after each print sale.

Matchbloc | Web | Instagram | Flickr

Source: The Calvert Journal

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