Labels are some of the more intentionally temporary, made to be disposed of items of ephemera in this collection. Their lifespan is intended to last until a shopper has brought the item home. They serve the purpose of identify the maker or designer of the product, contents or ingredients, materials and sometimes some care instruction;, the price of the item is sometimes affixed to the label. Yet, some of these labels are the most beautiful works of art. Thoughtfully designed images, pleasing colours, catchy slogans all contribute to make this items miniature, if temporary works of art, often barely remarked upon before they are tossed.

Labels have their origins in the early modern era where the word signified a “ribbon or other material that carries the seal on a document” (Rickards 189), but over the centuries have been used to extending the notion of branding to one of consumerism rather than simply identification, although it is also certainly that as well. Branding is integral to the successful marketing of an item, and savvy marketers know that attractive labels play a major role in the appeal of a product.

There are so many different types of labels that I have divided them into various collections, with the view that those may be further subdivided in time, or as a particular trend emerges from the collection. For instance, many companies have twigged onto the current appeal of branding that incorporates an eco- awareness. I have termed this eco-marketing. It just so happens that many of those items may cross over into other categories, most immediately notable are items that can be found in cafes: packaging for coffee beans and grounds, the coffee cups and sleeves used to protect people from hot take out cups.  Other packaging as well can be found to display a propensity toward eco-marketing as an aesthetic appeal as evidenced in chocolate bar labeling and other food items.

Clothing labels are probably the most self-consciously artistic. They tend to be designed to reflect a particular style or attitude associated with a line of clothing.  While some brands may invoke eco-marketing techniques, most labels rely on appealing to a sense of style, and the look that a shopper might be aiming to achieve.