Packaged (past tense): Dudes Cigarettes

00063C Dudes Cigarettes pack
00063D  Dudes Cigarettes pack
00063E  Dudes Cigarettes pack
00063F  Dudes Cigarettes pack

The photos above show a “Dudes Cigarettes” pack from El Modo Museo’s tobacco collection.

dudes-fags“Dudes” was a trademark brand of MacDonald Tobacco, Inc. Dudes Cigarettes were introduced in Canada in the 1970s.

The photo to the right was featured in Graphis Packaging 4 and other design annuals. “Flip-top pack for Dudes cigarettes. Imitation of jeans material with zipper.”

The faux denim package was designed by Gaylord Adams, illustrated by Milton Herder, art directed by Gaylord Adams & Don Flock at the Gaylord Adams Design studio in NYC.

In the “hero shot” photo from Graphis Packaging 4, the lighting on the cigarette pack makes the illustrated zipper, rivits and embossed leather patch all the more convincing due to the shadow of the pack matching the direction of the simulated shadows in the illustration.

The illusion is not as convincing in the photos from the Modo Museum above. (The Modo Museum, by the way, has a tagline that we really like: Del objecto del objecto  or “The object of the object.”)

According to Jim’s Burnt Offerings

1970’s Canadian teenagers thought new Dudes were just so cool. A pack of cigarettes that looked like what you were wearing, was intriguing. Dudes were on sale for just a few months before manufacturer MacDonald Tobacco had them pulled from retail shelves.

This sounds almost as if the brand was pulled due to some Joe Camel type public backlash, but the reality appears to have been a more mundane fail[Read more…]

Beer Can Mortars


Via: Public Collectors

This packet contains plans to build a beer can mortar for purposes of safe entertainment and enjoyment. This device is not a mortar with a barrel made from a beer can, as assumed at first, but rather a more heavy-duty device designed to fire beer cans filled with sand or gravel up to 500 yards. As the literature itself states: “We can assume no responsibility for the manner in which the enclosed information is used.” Don’t hurt yourself or others!

Published by Delta Press in 1977, the publication is still available on their website for $4.95.

Billed as “The world’s most outrageous catalog” as if to suggest that the products they sell are all in outlandish good fun. The current issue of the Delta Press catalog, however, declares on its cover, “Survival at its best.” These are not the capricious gag gifts one might infer from “outrageous.”

Survivalists & militia groups seem to be their primary market (despite their literature being chock full of legal disclaimers like “All books sold are for academic purposes only.”)

Still, we like the vintage, engraving-style illustration of the Beer Can Mortar. The little bird is also a nice, if incongruous, touch.

a beer can mortar from The Antique Cannon Superstore

CementFilledCokePepsiIn the “real” world of weaponized packaging, soda can mortars seem to be more prevalent than beer can mortars. This is reassuring, perhaps, to anyone concerned about projectile-launching while intoxicated.

Naturally, soda can mortar enthusiasts are happy to do what they can to perpetuate the cola wars.

The Diet Coke and Pepsi cans on the right have been filled with cement to better serve as mortar ammo. (photo from: Greybeard Outdoors forum)

See also: Diet Cola for Men War

[Read more…]

Truncated Typography with Diagonal Lines


Is that a thing? Truncated typography with diagonal lines?

I told myself that if I could find three examples then maybe it was a sort of trend.

1. On the left is the Adir Wine label, designed in 2011 by Blend-It Design.

2. On the right is one of the Five brand olive oil tins, designed in 2013 by Panagiotidis Dimitrios.

Did I find any other examples of graphic design using cropped letters or numbers along with thin diagonal lines? [Read more…]

Anthropomorphic Heinz

A new Heinz campaign, “Ketchup’s Got A New Mustard” is by David (The agency) and features anthropomorphic Heinz bottles interacting in ways that are all-too-human…

The new campaign is built around a 30-second spot, “Backyard BBQ,” which personifies the Heinz’s redesigned mustard as Ketchup’s new main squeeze. He brings her to a backyard barbecue and everything is going great until his ex-mustard shows up. Ketchup’s ex-mustard is less than happy about his new relationship, and he adds insult to injury when he tells his new girlfriend that she has better taste.

“For years, Heinz Ketchup has been with the wrong mustard. Well not anymore,” says the voiceover at the conclusion of the spot, followed by the tagline. While the approach highlights the reinvention of the product in an obvious way, some might think it goes a bit far in making the past version of the product (and, by extension, Heinz) look bad.

Eric Oster, Agency Spy, AdWeek

The idea that ketchup and mustard might be romantically linked is not entirely new.

(We have an earlier precedent and additional anthropomorphic Heinz spots, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Packaged (past tense): 1984 Pinti Inox Box

Folding box for an Inox vegetable press (from Graphis Packaging 4)

Nice folding carton with orthographically-projecting product illustrations. (See: Packaging & Orthographic Graphic Design)

Usually I can find out a bit more, but this Pinti Inox box has proven pretty resistant to research. Every other photo on page 190 of Graphis Packaging 4 includes artist, designer, art director and agency.  This photo only includes client, Pinti Inox.

Looks to me like a frying pan, but it says “passaverdura” on the side of the box. Search for “passaverdura” on Google, however, and you find very different looking apparatus with a crank.

Cannot find any information on who actually designed this box, but Pinti Inox does appear to have manufactured some frying pans…

In the middle of the 1960’s with the second generation of the Pinti family, the company attained the role of unquestionable leader of cutlery and pans. New production ranges of pans and tableware were introduced, taking advantage of the new industrial location in Sarezzo.

Curiously, in the same 1984 book — on the same page — there were black and white photos showing 4 other boxes with orthographically-projecting product illustrations…

[Read more…]

Möbius Circuit Logo

Mobius-Circuit-LogoCircuitcell™ is a manufacturer of rechargeable batteries for electronic pet fences. Related to the typographic circuit logos we were looking at on Tuesday is the Mobius circuit trademark that BEACH designed for them in 2012.

Here the circuit traces a well-known symbol, rather than a letterform. That symbol, of course, is Gary Anderson’s recycling symbol. His logo with 3 arrows in a Möbius-strip has held a certain, rueful significance for me since 1970. (See: Chasing Arrows)

Our symbol was intended to convey two ideas: the printed circuitry that is fundamental to Circuitcell’s patented technology, and the environmental benefits of rechargeable (rather than disposable) batteries.


Escher-Mobius-FlatwormTo be honest, there are some other circuit-resembling Möbius strips around. Not as well-crafted as our Circuitcell symbol —(if I do say so)— and usually designed to promote an electronics recycling event, rather than an electronics brand.

The closed loop geometry of the trefoil Möbis strip, however, also implies other, more paradoxical ideas. A dog chasing its own tail… or Escher’s 1961 wood block engraving, entitled Möbuis Strip I.  At first, I thought that these were three ouroboros style flatworms, but I just read that these were meant to be depictions of fish. (And maybe it’s just as well if we do not mention parasites in a post about pet products branding.)

As with Tuesday’s letterform circuits, it’s worth noting that Möbius strips and electronic circuits can also be connected in ways that are not just metaphorical…

[Read more…]

Letterforms as Circuits


4 vintage logos with letterforms resembling electronic circuits. (Each one, enclosed in a circle)

Not as circuitous as they might be, but the simpler the circuitry the more legible the typography.

W. Paul Rand’s 1959 Westinghouse logo (and McFarland Studio’s 1973 logo for photographer, Hank Gans) we’ve mentioned before. (See: The Westinghouse W: connecting the dots)

This logo featured the letter “W” made up of three dots and four lines that form a letter with the suggestion of the format of an electrical circuit board.

Stephen Eskilson, Graphic Design: A New History

H. I readily concede that the Hank Gans logo might resemble a button even more than an electronic circuit. (See also: the Gap’s “Logo” logo)

S. Carl Seltzer’s logo design for United Semiconductor, published in a 1967 issue of Communications Arts. (from: Sandi Vincent’s Flickr Photostream)

E. The logo for Elton (an electrical products company) was designed by Jan Hollender.

(a couple more letterforms as circuits, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Bubble Wrap the brand


Bubble-Wrap-the-brandOne word or two words? Is it BubbleWrap, the brand or Bubble Wrap, the brand? Actually, its both.

BubbleWrap® and Bubble Wrap® are both registered trademarks of The Sealed Air Corporation.

Either way, it’s one of those trademarked names that seem forever on the verge of becoming a brandnomer, since so many people already use it that way…

“The fact is that Bubble Wrap®, a registered trademark of Sealed Air, is actually a brand but often used incorrectly to describe all air cellular cushioning material. As a trademark, Bubble Wrap® only describes Sealed Air® air cellular cushioning material.”

As a verb, however, “bubble wrap” implies an unnecessary and counter-productive type of protection, as in “don’t bubble wrap your kids” or “don’t try to bubble-wrap your brand.”

Often ad agencies have been forced to become the principal brand custodians due to uncertainty in the marketing discipline. The power might have been nice, but it’s not an ad agency’s job to bubble-wrap the brand and refuse to take or even suggest risks. Brand growth in a cluttered environment needs to embrace the notion of risk taking, and a line of tension and accountability needs to exist between those managing the brand and those promoting it. Until marketing gets its act together, ad agencies will become increasingly constrained, say brand experts.

Top Companies Magazine, 2007

See also: Day-Glo: the brand

Packaged (past tense): 1970 faux beer glass packs

faux-beer-glass-packs-1970Suntory Beer labels from 1970 GraphisPackaging 2

Beer cans impersonating glasses of beer have been a pet topic on box vox for a few years now. Just when I think I’ve seen them all, I discover a whole new set of “faux beer glass packs.”

The Suntory Beer labels above were designed by Shigeshi Omori under the design direction of Shigetaka Saito.

A flat top steel can with a “tear-open lid” and a printed paper label, the graphics of which include a glowing beer-colored background with condensation and a foamy head. The removable lid was probably intended to complete the illusion that one was drinking their beer from a glass.

Not the earliest example of this idea—(from the evidence I’ve seen so far, it appears the ACME beer was the first)—but it just might be the first time this idea appear on a can of Japanese beer.

Since then, Suntory and other Japanese beer manufacturers have used this motif quite a bit.

(5, more recent faux-beer-glass packs, after the fold…)

[Read more…]

Incomprehensible Logos in Men’s Hearts


Justinus (ad Diognetum, c. vii.) says that the omnipotent, all-creating, and invisible God has fixed truth and the holy, incomprehensible Logos in men’s hearts; and this Logos is the architect and creator of the Universe.

The Thoughts of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, (George Long, 1880)

See what I did there? According to Wikipedia, Justinus Martyr “is regarded as the foremost interpreter of the theory of the Logos in the 2nd century,” but his Logos is a proper noun (always capitalized and not plural) and means something like “the word of God.”

I set out to find 4 incomprehensible logos, and accidentally found Logos.

Based on the Greek word, λέγω (“I say”), Logos was an important concept for ancient philosophers. Aristotle divided persuasive communication into three categories. Ethos, Pathos & Logos. Logos was the one based on logic and clarity.

Logic and clarity are also supposed to be key persuasive concepts in our own alternate universe of brand logos. So, why is it that some brand logos are so difficult to comprehend?

Today we consider 4 such “incomprehensible” logos…


Minale-Tattersfield-Sunday-Times1. The Scribble

If our alternate universe was created by incomprehensible logos, then Minale Tattersfield’s 1964 “Scribble” might be our big bang.

Minale made sure his fledgling design firm got noticed. The firm even introduced its own corporate logo —the “Scribble”, a loose, free-form, pencil-drawn counterblast to the formal graphic conventions of the time. (from Wikipedia’s entry on Marcello Minale’s work)

It’s often combined as a logotype with the name “Minale Tattersfield” underneath, but I prefer to show it as they have it on their website — just a scribble with an ® symbol.

(Three more incomprehensible logos, after the fold…) [Read more…]