Category Archives: Packaging

Goodridge Grade A Butter

I had the pleasure of visiting the Goodridge (Minnesota) Historical Society yesterday, and I came across this beautiful butter box. Daisies are quite popular imagery with dairy products, especially butter. My favorite is a packaging company’s sample imagery for “Best Butter” (not a real product). Now, I’m sure the Goodridge butter packaging wasn’t made specifically for that creamery. It looks like the brand name would have just been stamped in the happy puffy cloud near the daisies. Still, I love seeing that small enterprises could actually have things that had good design, and it’s nice to see any sort of product that came from such a small town.

Sovietskiy Design? (Советский дизайн?)

Balkan Foods. At a Balkan market in Fargo, I found a few pieces of Extant Design that have a definite Soviet air to them. The Zlatni Puder evokes memories of lots of late East German graphic design (which I mentioned previously here in Extant DDR). They’re particularly enjoyable because it seems most post-Soviet packaging design has been thoroughly Westernized, usually with the latest swoosh-twist-3D-glow effects.


Soviet-era Design Books. I love the book SED: Stunning Eastern Design and its miniature half-clone DDR Design, and now I’ve discovered a newer, bigger book on DDR (East German) design, called DDR Design (unrelated to the other DDR Design above), by Günter Höhne (English-language info here). It’s in German only, but lots of large color pictures make it a great piece of extant design porn nonetheless. In the same series as DDR Design, but by different authors are DDR Kochbuch (DDR Cookbook), DDR Backbuch (DDR Baking Book), and DDR Getränkebuch (DDR Drink Book). They’re in German only, and more text-heavy, but design freaks, and English-speakers who care to translate recipes to attain some weak sense of Ostalgia might still get from them some enjoyment.

Take Gastrin.

Everlasting Inventory. Not just a good synonym for Extant Design, Everlasting Inventory / Permanentny Remanent, is a book on “promotional graphic design in the Polish People’s Republic” that I’m anxiously awaiting. My credit card has been charged 123.99 złoty, and I think an email may have told me that my order has shipped. In the same series is Not Only the Poster / Nie Tylko Plakat, on “promotional graphic design in Poland between the wars”. The website Reklamowy oldschool shows a number of “oldschool” Polish ads. I’d like to find more postwar graphic design from other trans-Iron Curtain states, but the closest I’ve otherwise found is the pre-WWII-era Obraztsy graficheskogo dizaina / Образцы графического дизайна (Graphic Design Samples), from Russia.

past packaging

Shinola, Postum, Pizzaroma. Last summer I spent some time in the Hamre House at the Pennington County Historical Society’s Pioneer Village, photographing the packaging in the kitchen, pantry, and bathroom. Products range from the fairly recent Pizzaroma to Malted Milk Powder that looks as though it may have accompanied Shackleton or Scott to Antarctica.

mehr ostdeutsches design

After a long and grueling trip through Deutsche Post and DHL (which are not yet, unfortunately, a completely merged organization), my Ostpaket has arrived. The Westpaket was a care package sent from the West to East, before the fall of the Berlin wall. Even though the miracles of capitalism and western brands have returned to eastern Germany, some DDR brands are still alive and well. This is useful for those with Ostalgie or for people like myself who just enjoy outdated graphic design. This Weizenin cake flour has some of the best examples of Extant Design: it’s rather simple design, sparse text, a product image, and a flat color background. The blue-on-white seems to be quite popular in extant design. See, especially, Marshmallow Fluff and Jiffy Mix.

instant extant design mix

A Fresh Helping of Extant Design from Seattle. Rcent grocery store explorations in Seattle have netted me a new batch of products with Extant Design. Some have come from one particular Safeway, others from corner stores. Neither, strangely, came from my local QFC, or earlier, the Safeway that I frequented. Some of these products are easily found in this area, while others are, I think, fairly unique finds. I’ve also added some explanations about Extant Design, and I’ve created thumbnails to help browse the ever-growing gallery.

pages of packaging pictures

I’ve slaved over a hot scanner for *you*. Check out old product packaging from the 50s and 60s, including some background on the classic Extant packaging, Jiffy (then|now). Also included is some sample packaging (no such product actually existed) for a daisy-themed muttarbargerine, a bit like the Nucoa below.