I wanted to take this opportunity to show a little appreciation for those out there still physically collecting things. Personally, I think it’s pretty cool to have some form of a collection — especially for some good, old-fashioned inspiration. It’s one of those things that might seem silly when you have the internet there and can look at stuff all day, yet, I’ve recently found myself having a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Internet if I’m honest. Obviously, it’s a great place for finding out information and for design inspiration too, however, I started to notice a lot of the same content being used over and over again on most design blogs and Pinterest boards.
One thing I’ve always had a real interest in is retro design — I love the strong use of typography, vibrant colour schemes and fun illustrations that were often the main focus in a lot of the design direction back then. So when a good friend of mine took me along to this cool little ‘junk shop’ in the west end called Relics, I fell in love with the style all over again. It felt like I was walking into a little time capsule; the shop was filled with so many amazing objects, all from different time periods. It was only then that I realised that everything in that one little shop meant something important to someone at some point in their lives before they moved on. These were people’s personal belongings, that are now sitting in boxes waiting for a second chance to make someone feel better and be put to good use.
Now, I apologise if this sounds like something out of Toy Story, but as you can tell it was an inspiring experience for me! Even more so when I came across a giant cardboard box filled to the brim with vintage beer mats. I’d come across so many cool photos of them online before, and always had a real appreciation for them, but nothing quite compares to that physical feeling of holding them in real life. It’s a much more personal experience and it’s amazing to be able to feel those tiny little halftone patterns that have been embossed into the mats, along with the unique imperfections that have come with time. Even the way the ink naturally fades away and adds to the aesthetic is something I think you can’t really appreciate just looking at something online. No matter how advanced technology might be, you can never hold a pixel or describe how nice the texture feels.
So now, this retro beer mat collection is one of the few things I’ve started collecting. Whether it’s vinyl records, postage stamps or beautiful seashells (if that’s your thing) — be sure to continue to take care of these collections. Even though the contents may vary, they all contain something significant and of sentimental value to the owner. It’s a nice little reminder that although we live in such a digital age today, nothing quite compares to a really personal connection with a physical object.