Traditional cigar boxes undergo vintage-style makeover

Unlike modern day cigarette boxes, which have to follow certain packaging design rules by law, old fashioned wooden cigar boxes have a lot more of a creative licence. In a series of painted cigar labels for Ivy Cigars, New York-based artist Glenn Wolk makes the most of this freedom by creating these beautifully handcrafted designs with a vintage touch.

Having found Wolk's work online through social media sites like his Behance page, Ivy Cigar thought his style was a perfect fit for their corollary items, including a cigar box design and cigar rings.

To get the look and feel of the cigar boxes right, Wolk started with an intense period of research and discovery. "I looked at thousands of cigar labels online," he reveals. "They are all beautiful and unique in their own way. Many of them were lyrical – told like a story." This storytelling angle can be seen in the Golden Goose piece, while others took on a straightforward approach, such as the collegiate Ivy labels.

Wolk's goal was to emulate the old style cigar boxes while creating something new at the same time. "I did use the computer to layout type, and plan," he adds, "but ultimately the designs were all hand painted."

Created with gauche to achieve a greater fit in terms of opacity and trueness of colour, the labels were scanned and touched up in Photoshop. "I added a dotted texture with the Photoshop paint tool (took forever) to suggest the coarser printing quality of vintage cigar labels," he explains.

"I always use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, but the goal is to utilise them behind the scenes and let the hand done aspect of my art be the most important."

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.