A forgotten medium of graphic design in S’pore

Matchboxes were once commonly given out free in restaurants, banks and hotels in Singapore. They were a common item used by smokers, but also an everyday source of heat and light before electricity and gas became widely available here. On these 5.5cm x 3.5cm boxes also contained graphic art of the times, as organisations used them to promote their companies.

I learnt about them recently through local matchbox collector Yeo Hong Eng, who recently gave a talk about his collection at Bedok library. He was also featured in the Straits Times. Yeo has kindly shared these images of his matchboxes with me. If you’re interested to see more of his collection and hear him give a short presentation on the history of these matchboxes, register for his talk at Ang Mo Kio Library on 12 Feb 2011.







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