For most creatives inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. For Jane McDevitt of Maraid Design and Neal Whittington of Present & Correct it is a fascination of matchbox labels that stimulates their alternate practises. “Over a pint we decided to collaborate on matchbloc,” an Instagram account that collects and curates the very best of matchbox labels from the Eastern Bloc. Illustrations are chucklesome or refined, but always soaked in a saturated hue of charm.
The Instagram account with over 5000 followers to date sparked our interest in how the pair decided to not only collect, but champion such a niche product. “A matchbox book from my local library led me to look at more labels online.” Jane explains, “I noticed labels for sale often 30+ for just a pound or two.” Her collection grew from there, captivated by the Eastern Bloc matchboxes’ “mixture of design and subject matter.”
The scenes depicted on these labels vary massively in content, making their Instagram account very addictive to scroll through, “Images of power and revolution, industry and national pride were celebrated, but also featured are public service information such as health and hygiene, money saving, alcohol abuse and road safety” says Jane. However no matter the subject matter or artist in question, the matchboxes consistently match as a set, “The designers and illustrators embraced mid-century bold contemporary design and bright colours.”
Jane and Neal put the success of their account due to the expertly drawn narrative depicted in a singular matchbox label, “Each label is a mini work of art and it has a story to tell. You can learn a lot about the design of that era and what is happening culturally and politically in the different countries. Also I have to admit I’m a sucker for the bright colours.”
Their celebration of “a design and ephemera that might have otherwise gone unnoticed and uncelebrated” will be collated into a book available to buy in early 2017.
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