New East Digital Archive

Discover the enchanting matchboxes of eastern Europe

23 November 2016

Step inside the surprisingly charming world of eastern European matchboxes with Matchbloc, an Instagram account by Jane McDevitt of Maraid Design and Neal Whittington of Present & Correct that delights in the graphics of matchbox labels.

In an interview with It’s Nice That, McDevitt explained that her collection grew after reading a matchbox book at her local library, after which point she was captivated by the Eastern Bloc matchboxes’ “mixture of design and subject matter”.

“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,” she said of the extremely diverse content of the labels.

Despite this diversity, the matchboxes seem to fit together as a collection. “The designers and illustrators embraced mid-century bold contemporary design and bright colours,” McDevitt commented on the common traits of the matchboxes.

Devitt and Whittington believe that matchboxes have thus far been overlooked as a window into eras past. “You can learn a lot about the design of that era and what is happening culturally and politically in the different countries,” explains McDevitt.

The minds behind Matchbloc hope to turn the Instagram account into a book early next year.

Source: It’s Nice That