Sometimes theme and format go hand-in-hand. Matchbloc, a book of Eastern Bloc matchbox labels by Jane McDevitt and Neil 'Present and Correct' Whittington, is a beautifully realised bit of publishing, where the robust, chunky format reflects the shape and proportions of the humble matchbox. With a printed strike on the spine and a cover image that wittily shows us the contents of a box of matches, albeit in a beautifully simplified modernist form, this book is as lovely as the contents it contains.
And lovely they are. Taken from Jane's personal collection of Eastern Bloc matchbox labels, the bold and bright mid-century designs are collated into subject headings, which include: animals; space, food & drink; transport and art & culture. In all there are over 400 Mini masterpieces here, each one a pocket billboard promoting power, health, industry and national identity through the use of bold design and bright colours. As Jane writes in the introduction 'When I first encountered post-war labels from the Eastern Bloc, they seemed to come from another world'. Another world is exactly where this book will take you, whether you are a fan of matchboxes, Eastern European modernism or just beautiful design.