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Matchboxes of the World

Each week we bring you a trio of Good Things in art and design, chosen from the infinite creative archives of Present & Correct

Matchboxes of the World
Matchboxes of the World

Good Things celebrates the detailed designs of vintage match books and boxes

As ephemera goes, matchbox labels are one of the most abundant and crowd pleasing, with a vast array of type and illustration building up since 1840. Like stamps, they are miniature canvases for all manner of advertising, public service announcements and anniversaries. It's fascinating how something so small can reflect so much about any given society at the time. Here are three brilliant collections to get lost in and inspired by.

Matchbooks from Romania
Matchbooks from Romania
Romania
Matches are no longer made in Romania, but there is a rich seam of old labels to view. Originating from 1900 and extending up to 2005, this site has one of the best, all handily organised by theme.

Matchbooks from Germany
Matchbooks from Germany
Germany
A set of German labels from the 1960s and 70s with a strong, modernist bent. Strong shapes and clean lines make for a pleasingly bold collection.

Matchbooks from the Czech Republic
Matchbooks from the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
Design group Maraid have what must be the biggest online collection of matchbox labels. They are predominantly Eastern European but there is a smashing set of Japanese ones too. Choosing favourites is almost impossible, it's a feast for your eyes. Sort through the gems here.

Present & Correct is a design blog and stationery store in London founded by graphic designers Neal Whittington and Mark Smith.

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