A Victorian Matchmax: Botanical Cartouches and Magic Numbers

For my design class, I had to create a Victorian-style matchbox. I began by doing some research, and reading Ben Jones’ article Matchbox Cover Design: the evolution of and the influences on the graphical design of Matchboxes. The first matchboxes were simple, but over time, matchbox producers explored branding techniques and the intricate floral designs signature to the Victorian Era. According to the article, in the latter half of the nineteenth century, decorative cartouches were commonly implemented on the labels. I learned that a cartouche is a decorative oblong “frame” often accompanied by scrollwork, and so I used a cartouche in my design. I chose vegetative forms because the “antiquated forms of vegetation and architecture that symbolised the Gothic and Roccoco periods” were popular in this era, as well as a fat-face type. I chose to depict three apples on the side of the box because “…another, curious group of labels were the ‘threes’ labels which used the ancient mythological, theological and philosophical significance of the number three.” Regarding the physical creation of this piece, I used thin cardboard, glue, a nib pen and ink, a white-out pen, and a red pencil crayon.

Match 2

Match 3

Match 1


Applying Gestalt Principles in Typography

I was experimenting with gestalt principles for another class assignment and came up with this. The original is traditional, (pen and Copic marker) and then I traced the lines in Photoshop. I chose the word “Meditations” because I’m currently reading “The Thoughts of the Emperor M. Aurelius Antoninus,” a work also known as “The Meditations” and “To Myself.”


Below: the original scan.

Meditation traditional

A Timeline of Graphic Design

Timeline Scan

In the style of the Master of Playing Cards

I chose this style for two reasons: I’m enamored with Gothic script, and the mystery of the Master of Playing cards, an unidentified artist and engraver who produced a beautiful set of cards in the 1400’s. Inspired by his style, and the concept of the card, I created a timeline that incorporated both a faux engraving style and the cards themselves. This piece was created with a calligraphy pen, Copic markers, a “big brush” Faber and Castell pen, and a Kuretake Art and Graphic Twin brush pen. In the spirit of the original cards, I chose to keep the piece black and white. The suits contain flowers, birds, deer, beasts of prey and wild men, and I did my best to include as many of these elements as possible in the timeline. Instead of the traditional numbered deck, the cards contain dates of important events. I layered the cards in such a way that, hopefully, their order is obvious.

This timeline is for a school project. I’ve said it before, but in the spirit of maintaining historical accuracy: it is by no means comprehensive. I hope that you enjoy it regardless.