I'm surprised no one has reviewed this wonderful book. Page after page of labels from ordinary products that could be found in any house over the decades. Admittedly most of the thousand shown are British but they could be from any English speaking country. Label design, to a certain extent, is dictated by the shape of the container. In the past beer bottles from anywhere tended to have oval designs, fruit boxes favor square graphics to fit the end of the box, medicine labels usually have plenty of type detailing the contents.
Fortunately most of the contents are pre-Second World war and some probably before the first one, so they exhibit an exuberance of color, illustration and an amazing range of lettering (graphic design folk will love this book). A spread that caught my eye had two pages from a label printer's catalog where the company had created generic designs for drinks. Some of them (unfortunately just a bit too small to appreciate) had wonderful still-life art of fruit on a table or hanging on a tree. Throughout the book the labels from the past always has beautiful illustrations.
All these great label are presented in a handsome looking book, most are cutout shapes but several pages, nicely, have attractive still-life photos of packaging. Robert Opie is probably the only person who could have created this book. He has over thirty thousand labels in his collection and runs a packaging museum in England. This has enabled him to edit several scrapbooks of packing and printed ephemera and a delightful book about British candy packaging and advertising: Sweet Memories, featuring some stunning graphics especially from the Twenties and Thirties.
***SEE SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.