Office Machines & Bubblegum

November 9, 2008 on 3:37 pm | By | In Gigs, Notes | 2 Comments

I’ve always loved the graphics found on vintage office machines (you know, the ones with industrial hammered metal finishes), which are often comprised of 2 or 3 color decals. They have a lot in common with decals that were used on gum and candy vending machines back in the ’40s and ’50s. I’ve managed to collect a few of those, and have always admired the naive, bold and simplistic graphics and design sense they share. I recently found a way to pay homage to them when my friend Jed Davis, Senior AD at both Promo and Direct magazines (and who also runs the indie record label “Eschatone Records“) called me with another cover assignment for Promo Magazine.

A few gum machine decals

The November issue of Promo is a special issue called “The 2008 Promo Sourcebook” and they needed a cover design that was non-specific, yet eye-catching enough so that people wouldn’t mind having it around for several months. My first inclination was to give it a sort of ledger-like look:

But after consideration, I thought that idea might be a little too sedate and staid for what Jed was looking for. Then it occurred to me that perhaps this might be an opportunity to do something along the lines of the decals I had been collecting. I could get color and excitement into a cover that had the feeling of a ledger by also referencing the graphics and decals found on old office and gumball machines. To further the feeling I gave the gold color a subtle “decal” texture, and the background feeling of metal with an industrial machine-like finish.


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  1. I love the “hammered metal” finish. I had to simulate it by starting with some other texture and working and re-working it until I got it to sort of look the way I wanted. Thanks for noticing!

    Comment by MD — March 13, 2009 #

  2. I clicked the image to enlarge it and boy does that make a difference. I saw the texture of the gold background. Love those decals. I remember them on the gumball machines when I use to get Ratfink rings and troll doll charms out of them back in the 60’s at the Safeway Store. Yes, I am an old sentimental fool!
    Good Woik!

    Comment by José Cruz — March 13, 2009 #

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