Spotted this collection of matchbook covers, and apart from the gift of match-based metaphors, what struck me (sorry) was how valuable this very particular media opportunity used to be.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 09.57.48

Seeing as how so few people use or need matches now, the art of the matchbook cover has surprising parallels with many of our more usual mediums – super-constrained format, really-specific application, broadcast-appeal – and perhaps equivalent as the ‘banner-ad’ of the last century.

As a micro-format, they’re really beautiful exercises in an art of communication using illustration to get a message across. I’ve a small collection of British examples, that includes garages that issued them (petrol and matches. Yikes).

Perhaps we could take a lesson out of the style and apply the same sensibilities to online advertising – would help make the medium easier on the eye for a start.

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About Richard Hill

Creative director, writer, designer, illustrator based in the UK with global project experience and consulting skills across sectors.


Art, Design, Experiences, Identity, media, Re-thinking, strategy, typography


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