This is the first in a series of posts in which we’ll share collections of product ‘covers’ that we find creatively inspiring – not necessarily well designed by any absolute standard, but intriguing nonetheless, and great for brainstorming sessions. We’ll look at things like book covers and film packaging and electronics service manuals; today, we present for your creative stimulation, a collection of vintage VHS slip cases.

Polaroid E-180 VHS slip case

Notice the planned hierarchy of information. The brand name is larger than the tape type (eg. T-120) is larger than the type variation (eg. High Color) is larger than the VHS logo is larger than all the other details – which are, with a few exceptions, kept to a minimum across the board. Also, note the repeated use of rainbow and sunset color schemes – makes sense when designing for a product meant to capture the real world in high color, high density, ultra color, extra quality, and supercolor. Is this possibly the electronics parallel to the saturation of all natural, healthy, green, sustianable, eco-friendly lifestyle-marketing tripe? We digress…

Recoton VHS slip case

BASF T-120 VHS slip case

RCA VK 250 VHS slip case

Gemini VHS slip case

RCA T-120 VHS slip case

Scotch T-120 VHS slip case

AGFA E-180 VHS slip case

Take a look at the evolution of the Polaroid case design (top and below). Note the consistency in style, maintaining a bold, bright, and minimal identity, with a slight reshuffling of the hierarchy; the type variation, ‘Supercolor’, was decreased in weight, and placed just underneath the brand name, while the tape type increased in size and weight slightly; and the rainbow bars were shifted up to give room for uncluttered key characteristics that might help make the decision easier between that and another model. All that, and the right alignment works so well, too. Wait, where’d the dot in the ‘i’ go?

Polaroid T-120 VHS slip case

Sony T-120 VHS slip case