Sunday, October 23, 2022

A Lost Art

Today's post touches on a subject I raise here rather often: "they don't make them like they used to."

Case in point, this paper Halloween plate I picked up a couple months ago.  It probably dates to the 1940s or 50s. As a side observation, I always wonder how a single plate or napkin survives all these years.

The amount of detail and design that went into something that was ultimately intended to be thrown away is amazing.

We throw an annual Halloween party for family and friends and I always look for Halloween-themed paper plates at stores like Target and Walmart. In comparison to above, here's what you have for selection now.


I don't understand why more effort doesn't go into design these days.  Why is it so hard to create designs to rival styles that were commonplace 70 years ago?

Here are some examples of vintage Halloween party plates gleaned from eBay:

Looking on Amazon, I did find these plates and napkins that are swipes of actual vintage Halloween designs by Besitle from the 1930s.  It's too bad companies aren't designing their own art for new generations.


  1. Agree with you 100%--Today's commercial "artists" don't seem to have any design sense or pride of craftsmanship. It's gotten where package art for major brand products are indistinguishable from their dollar-store counterparts.

    Look at modern-day cereal boxes and comic book covers--They used to be designed like a poster with simple composition and bright, flat colors that you could see clearly from across a store. Now, they're overly-airbrushed cluttered messes that make it hard to tell one from the other.

    1. One of the (many) reasons I got out of the comic collecting hobby was the introduction of digital art and coloring, not to mention the glossy stock paper they switched to around the same time. I can still pick up an old comic and enjoy it.

  2. i will stand up for the new companies. that middle plate on the three you show as a contemporary example IS a modern take on the theme, it's just not to your tastes. i think it's cute, and the anime style is very current. and those vintage ones did re-use parts over and over (copy, paste, and scale -- in today's production methods), to save time instead of drawing all new faces on the pumpkins. graphic artists back then weren't so different from today.

    1. I knew you'd come to the defense, and I understand, and you're correct: it's not to my taste. It just seems like that's been the style for nearly 20 years now and I'm ready for something different. To me, it just doesn't compare to the art on these plates.

    2. haha, i'm so predictable! but on balance, this style has been in vogue for *only* 20 years. the style you prefer was the way for... 30 years? more? it'll come back, maybe. but things cycle, as you know.


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