Remember, remember the fifth of November!
by Steve Humber
It’s that time of year again, time to get the scarves and bobble hats out, put on the wellies and head out to the nearest public firework display near you. It’s an exciting time of the year for all.
All this got me thinking of the firework packaging I remember from years gone by.
A small selection box with bright coloured labels promising spectacular effects in the back garden that mostly never happened or were not quite up to the billing on the labels . But that didn’t really matter it was all about the event and the anticipation plus it meant that we had jacket potatoes and soup in the back garden. (This was the early 70’s!).
I found these old firework labels on-line and I love that they were designs from an age of innocence, mostly hand drawn lettering and out of register printing on rough quality paper, they have a essentially British character and a retro lo-fi graphic style, and the names are totally brilliant… a ‘mine of fiery serpents’ is my personal favourite.
These firework names are a reflection of society at the time they were manufactured. You can see the influences: The Cold War (Radium Dazzler, Atom Bomb) , The Space Race (Lightning Chaser, Flying Saucer and Martian Ray) up to the present day multi-salvo boxes of tricks with names such as Naval Bombardment, Atomic Warlord, Robot Attack, Cyborg Massacre and the strangely named Bling in a Box!
Fireworks are the ultimate in disposable graphics, the labels promise much and are ultimately either vaporised in the stratosphere or end up on the garage roof, but they are fun and part of our British folklore, great utilitarian design and a gauge of our society.
Hope you enjoyed the fireworks!