Next to cash register receipts, common price tags are arguably the most taken for granted pieces of graphic design. Many today are rendered by computer, so why bother showering them with respect. Some are, of course, handwritten without the flair of a true letterer. And most are stock designs that come from a few different business stationery outlets that sell various merchant necessities.
But price tags aren’t as boring as one might think. They certainly are not trivial pieces of the marketing puzzle, so some have typographic flair. In fact, from the turn of the century and through the Great Depression, price tags used to alert customers to an exceptional bargain were often well-designed. These small graphic design throw-a-ways, saved from oblivion, are more examples of the role of eye-catching typography in the commercial world.
By Steven Heller
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