Given that I recently wrote about one of my favorite production company logos, it’s not particularly surprising that I’d love 4096’s recent short film, Blank VHS Covers Were Kinda Beautiful. The short, not even two minutes long, rebuilds the designs on the cardboard sleeves of blank VHS tapes. And, well, if VHS is generally forgotten, these sleeves are doubly so.
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But for folks like me of a certain age and a certain inclination, they can smash the nostalgia button pretty hard.
Growing up, I was a tape trader. Mostly audio cassettes, but videos were particularly sought after. I had a few rare things that I’d copy off (Don’t tell the FBI!), and use as leverage. My local video store had a copy of the then-long-out-of-print The Compleat Al, the 1985 faux-documentary about “Weird Al” Yankovic‘s career, which was pretty coveted, so I ran off a fair number of copies. Now, you can get a pristine edition from Shout! Factory, but that was still about 20 years off.
But when I’d get VHS tapes, perversely, one of the things I liked best was seeing the blank VHS covers. I typically used Maxells, as illustrated by the image up above. Maxell was one of the favored brands of the tape-trading community, but truthfully, it was mostly just because that was the brand Costco stocked, so it was easy to just buy a pile of cheap tapes. But other traders had their own preferences — and since I love looking at industrial design, I’d always be fascinated, especially when I found a rare brand I hadn’t seen before.
I don’t know if 4096 had a similar past. Very little is available about 4096, even — their YouTube page merely says that they’re based in Russia and make animations. Their Twitter is untouched. But from their channel, it’s clear they’re fans of design too. They’ve made a number of other videos, including a look at gaming consoles, Windows startup sounds, the Google Logo, and more. Though I know nothing about 4096, I can tell you that they have a good eye, and a great talent for this sort of animation. Check it out, and go ahead and give them a subscription. I don’t know what they’re working on next, but it’ll probably be pretty neat.