Generator Likes: Stuck on VHS
March 3, 2023 | For Fun, Opinion
I love books about design and the design process and always keep my eyes open for them as a great source for inspiration. Anyone who knows me also knows that I have a penchant for nostalgia. So, to come across this gem was an opportunity I simply could not pass up.
‘Stuck on VHS’ sets out to explore the ragtag and largely forgotten world of video store stickers. Detailing rental store logos, rewind reminders, genre indicators and a sundry of other old school ephemera, this wonderful book curates a truly sentimental collection of sticker art that has been lost by the progress of design.
One of the many great things I love about this book is how sloppy it is. Let me explain. So many times—and rightfully so, when you open a book about design, everything is clean, crisp and immaculate. The pieces in this book serve one purpose: to function. They’re grimy, messy and not particularly designed well. There’s even greasy stains on some of them.
Let’s talk about video stores for a moment. Remember them? If you were around in the 80s or 90s it’s likely that you spent at least some time exploring the long, dusty aisles lined with thousands of plastic clamshell boxes decorated with outrageous cover art. Video stores were the institutions for cinema discovery, family night fun and a meeting place for amateur or pro movies buffs.
Streaming is easy sure enough and you don’t have to get off the couch, but you’re limited to what these services have selected for you. There was a certain charm to running up to the new release wall, only to find that all the cassettes had been rented out by the faster customers. Thus you were delegated to wandering the aisles for something else that caught your eye.
I have such fond memories of this era: my brother and I walking up to the counter with a copy of Die Hard, only to be turned away because we were too young to rent an R-rated movie. Walking around the mom-and-pop store by my house and hearing the floorboards creak underneath my feet. The smell of free stale popcorn you could snack on while browsing. Good times, always.
I guess I simply miss aimlessly walking around the aisles of a video store.
With a boisterous rejuvenation of interest of the VHS era and its culture, this book serves as a shining light on the seemingly small but very essential pieces of visual communication the helped to shape and define that era. These stickers truly illuminate a time and a place, serving to breathe new life into an era which is quickly fading in the rear-view mirror; a world that has becomes almost completely extinct in our modern time. This book and its specimens contained within have the power to entertain, educate, inspire and connect you to fond memories. At least it does for me.
Thanks for reading and as always: Be Kind, Rewind.