Eastern Bloc matchbox design is having a comeback thanks to the project Matchbloc — a book and merch shop celebrating socialist-era illustrations.
Its co-founder, the Glasgow-based designer, Jane McDevitt, has been collecting vintage match labels for 15 years, inspired by a book with illustrations from around the world. “It was the Eastern Bloc ones that stood out,” she explains, “because they were so contemporary to their time: very modern and colourful.”
Now in its second edition, the book features 400 matchbox illustrations produced between 1950-1990, from Prague all the way to Moscow. They feature anything from toys and household items to circus animals, brutalist buildings, and space motifs.
“The matchboxes would often feature civic-minded messages which were dispatched through bold, eye-catching, mid-century contemporary design and bright colours. They are not only a delight for collectors but leave behind an extraordinary social archive,” McDevitt says. “Each label tells a unique story of design, illustration, and history.”
Find out more here.