Monthly Archives: October 2005

Extant DDR

Club ColaThe particular circumstances of the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or East Germany) meant little focus on marketing and little attention on design. Even before the fall of the Berlin Wall, some of this design began to be recognized. The show Design in der DDR in Stuttgart in 1988 was perhaps the first recognition of extant design. Taschen puts out two books (with nearly the same content) of some of these Wall-era products: the smaller but newer DDR Design and the larger SED: Stunning Eastern Design. If you’re looking for more instant DDR gratification, the website DDR Alltagskultur (Everyday DDR Culture) provides images for an amazingly wide (and still growing) list of East German products. The site is in German, but language skills are not necessary to enjoy the design, just scroll down in the lefthand frame. Language skills may be needed to enjoy all of the books on their Buchtip(p)s pages. I plan on purchasing one or two in the hopes that they’ll include plenty of color pictures. Finally, a key to the images: on the left is the East German Club-Cola (now available again [de] for those with Ostalgie). On the right is the modern (but still very Extant) Pepsi Schwip Schwap[de] (a German cola/orange drink, not unlike OK Soda). Poor Schwip Schwap seems to be heavily outmarketed [de] by Coca-Cola’s Mezzo Mix [de].

labels labels everywhere

Extant Delicacies. From the shores beyond the continental US, I bring you three new pieces of Extant Design. In a gourmet grocery in the Pike Place Market, I found Celles sur Belle butter. In a Hispanic market also in the Market, I found Goya Flan. And from a British import shop somewhere in downtown-Seattle-office-complex-ville, it’s Tunnock’s Tea Cakes.

Outdated Label Design from
the Reunified Germany
(ca. 2003)

DDR-era Soda

Extant DDR. The particular circumstances of the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or East Germany) meant little focus on marketing and little attention on design. Even before the fall of the Berlin Wall, some of this design began to be recognized. The show Design in der DDR in Stuttgart in 1988 was perhaps the first recognition of extant design. Taschen puts out two books (with nearly the same content) of some of these Wall-era products: the smaller but newer DDR Design and the larger SED: Stunning Eastern Design. If you’re looking for more instant DDR gratification, the website DDR Alltagskultur (Everyday DDR Culture) provides images for an amazingly wide (and still growing) list of East German products. The site is in German, but language skills are not necessary to enjoy the design, just scroll down in the lefthand frame. Language skills may be needed to enjoy all of the books on their Buchtip(p)s pages. I plan on purchasing one or two in the hopes that they’ll include plenty of color pictures. Finally, a key to the images: on the left is the East German Club-Cola (now available again [de] for those with Ostalgie). On the right is the modern (but still very Extant) Pepsi Schwip Schwap[de] (a German cola/orange drink, not unlike OK Soda). Poor Schwip Schwap seems to be heavily outmarketed [de] by Coca-Cola’s Mezzo Mix [de].

1957

2000

The Legacy of a Label.The image on the left is a Durkee’s Mayonnaise label in 1957. The image on the right is a Durkee’s Mayonnaise label in Japan in 2000. As you can see, very little has changed in 43 years. There are so many things to love about that label, Extant Design-wise, from the plain white space to the very odd font to the gold foil with blue grid label. The label on the right is courtesy Sue’s Mayomania (in Japanese, but once again, you can enjoy pictures even without the language — you will, however, have to click randomly). While Durkee’s Mayonnaise has long since disappeared from the US market, it was still being made for export to Japan. Sadly, the Durkee’s brand seems to have disappeared and has been replaced with Lightship instead.

totally divergent types of towns

Chicago.
This weekend, I visited Chicago. I hadn’t really intended to take pictures, but after seeing this sign for a second time, I knew I had to stop and pick up a disposable camera. (The first time I saw it, if I remember correctly, was on this crazy kidnap cab ride we were on.) After Chicago, I took the train to Ann Arbor, Michigan to visit the University of Michigan. Ann Arbor is mostly too pretty to be anything I’d want to take pictures of, though I found a few things to shoot.

Dots.
Before leaving Minnesota, I went a couple Everydot trips. True to my style, I’m posting it about three months later. I finally took pictures of the crazy little town I’m in by far the most, Karlstad (home of my employer). I also shot in a number of North Dakota towns, some of which I’d been to before. I’m trying to replace some of the bug-splattered windshield shots with much more calm, careful, and contemplative ones. By far my favorite town to shoot was also one of the largest dots, Devils Lake.

Road Closed.
Not far from the city of Devils Lake, the lake Devils Lake is rising, flooding miles and miles of land. In one area I drove through, the main road has been continually raised to stay above the water, while side roads have not. Roads lead off away from the highway and straight into the lake. In some places, the only way to see a road was once there is by the perfectly straight lines of weeds that lead off to higher land. In the distance, you can see old farmhouses once on hills are now islands in the ever-expanding lake. In one place, a pickup truck sits at the new end of a road, waiting for water to go back down so it can finally cross.