Designers seem to have an obsession of collecting objects which most likely feeds their hunger to find inspiration. I read in How Magazine that “83% of designers said they collect at least one thing (usually more), from toys to thimbles to teapots.”
My obsession is vintage branding and advertising. I love to collect anything and everything that uses interesting typography, illustrations, color combinations and design elements. My collection ranges from letterpress posters to unique beer coasters. A few years ago, I started collecting vintage advertising pins and have acquired roughly a hundred of them.
Advertising pins were a popular and cheap way of advertising during the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s. Pins were used to promote everything from transportation and gasoline to cleaning products and medicines. Advertising pins often featured cartoon characters and were handed out at stores. On the political side, pins were given away at campaign rallies. Today vintage pins are hard to find because consumers simply wore them and threw them away.
I enjoy collecting the pins for several different reasons. There is a nice simplistic and graphic quality about the them that I appreciate. The pins are mini works of typographic and iconic art. They influence how I think about new brand identity projects and they’re a valuable resource in my everyday design work.