design, set & match


Just look at this tremendous tumblr—A Life in Matches, created by designer Ben Stott. The Grandfather of a friend of his collected countless matchbooks over a lifetime, and he’s very kindly taken the time to share these tiny treasures with all of us.

It’s humbling to see what designers managed to do on such a minute scale. Even at these sizes, a lot of the pieces have well-balanced whitespace and composition. In a way it’s almost as if the limitations of the scale have forced the designers to focus on the absolute essentials—so even the worst designs have a sense of restraint and elegance. It simply wasn’t possible to do anything else.

On their own many of these wouldn’t be anything special (although there are some real beauties). But together they tell a lovely story. As Ben puts it, ‘With these matchbooks a story of a life well lived unfolds. Of Hotel splendour, of transatlantic cruises and a little jet setting. Each matchbook is a tender reminder that every experience has been treasured.’

It’s this kind of thing we’ll probably see less of in the digital age. Less collections of beautifully printed things. But of course in the typical paradox, it’s the digital age that allows everyone to see and enjoy it.

Thanks Ben. Thanks Justin Bairamian’s Grandad. Thanks internet.