All clear

All Clear vintage cardboard luggage tags

We really don’t make enough use of cardboard luggage tags. They’re such nice things for luggage to travel with.

I always struggle with leather and pleather luggage tags. I had a nice Muji one but it was almost impossible to reopen, never mind change the address in it. I have a Moleskine one that is yet to come out of its packaging, bought in a rush of excitement that ‘Moleskine are making luggage tags!’ in a small, funny little stationery shop in Paris. I had an erudite freebie space research institute luggage tag, a free gift to an erstwhile colleague at the Science Museum. He didn’t see any worth in it. I got bored of that one.

Part of the curse of the design fiend is to look for one’s perfect version of a thing. Sometimes version testing things, if they are cheap enough, until satisfaction is arrived at. Sometimes living without the thing altogether, if it is a more significant purchase, until what seems like perfection is spotted. It is a game I enjoy playing. I like researching things. I like approaching and then retreating from something, judging it, inhaling its properties to see if it fits. Then. Maybe. Buying it.

But I wonder if a cardboard luggage tag may be the best sort of luggage tag to have? Untied and disposed of in that moment of unpacking and relaxing back to home.

These All Clear tag are, as it says on the wrapper, blank. No lines to aid writing. Completed with a nice nude hole reinforcement sticker (both sides) and just enough string. They have a Lion Brand logo on the reverse. The logo belonged to the John Dickinson Stationery Company, who are now trading under the slightly less grand, more generic name of Hamelin.

Hamelin own the Basildon Bond brand, among others. It’s still going but packaged in an ugly way. That was the go-to stationery in my house when I was growing up. The paper always matched the envelopes, of course. Always.



Ah yes, Basildon Bond! There was probably a pad of that in almost every home in the country when I was young. I remember the lined sheet you were supposed to put underneath your letter to keep your writing straight. I had a mania for sending off for free leaflets, catalogues and samples from magazines so got through a lot of pads and envelopes!

Amazing your tags have survived and of course brown tags are “a la mode” these days. When I hand stamp tags for craft fairs they are always popular.

Adam Smith

I have a bunch of Amtrak ones I picked up gratis in America. They’re very simple cardboard labels which fold over and then attach with a little bit of elastic. I tend to find they last for a couple of airplane holds then I just write a new one.

shelf appeal

They sound just the job. Gratis always makes things taste better I find.


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