Articles & Features
Should we Fire the Art Designer on these?
One of the appealing things about collecting crayon boxes is that many of them are very colorful or have great graphics. Then there are the boxes that look like they came out of the "generic" labeling craze of the 1970s. These were uninspiring and oddly similar in design across different crayon manufacturers. It seems like they just wanted to crank out a particular product as quickly as possible. Yet despite it all, those really into collecting still seek out these boxes as they represent some early and rare examples of boxes that were sold. Can you even tell the difference between these crayon companies?
Cerola was anohter product to compete with Crayola produced by Binney & Smith circa 1920s. Boston has been produced by both Binney & Smith and by Edward Babb and it makes one speculate on whether the Babb box was simply a subcontract job or not. Keystone from the Kurtz brothers does have an emblem on the box, but it's in that typical gray used on so many of these items. Spectra comes from Binney & Smith’s pastel line probably in the same era as the Cerola. Finally, Standard Crayon produced a number of the simple type crayon boxes - this one being a contract job for the Providence School in Rhode Island.
Not much better...
Springfield is one of Milton Bradley's earliest crayon products. They are all similar, white lettering on black boxes. At least they did add a border and an emblem on this one. The Wonder box is from American Crayon who have some great box designs. All I can say about that one is I "wonder" what they were thinking during the design review - not much obviously! Finally, another Milton Bradley box - again an early example product. I'll have to give Milton Bradley credit, they did put out some wonderful boxes as well.
And just plain ugly...
Ok, it's just my own personal opinion, but I really don't like any of these boxes. American Crayon (and Dixon) seemed to be particularly guilty of ugly boxes. The Excello Squares, Kantroll, and Prang boxes are just a few examples of many boxes they put out that are totally uninspiring to the collector other than to simply have one as part of the collection. Personally, the entire Talens product line is ugly. It's these drab pastel colors and uninspiring graphics. And finally, Milton Bradley's Tru-Tone brand drives me crazy too. I really don't care for their green designs on these. Of course, your opinion may vary on all of these items. But just to give you a contrast, take a look at what all of these products could have been: