Designer Collector: Tags made using Specialty Paper & Printing Techniques

Lin Oosterhoff Provisional RGD shares her collection of clothing tags.


Designers are known to be collectors. The process of carefully cataloging objects can bring inspiration when least expected. 
What do you collect?
I collect clothing tags — not your every-day clothing tags, but ones that are printed on specialty paper, feature specialty printing techniques like embossing or foiling or have interesting shapes.
I try to keep my collection fairly small. I currently have around 30 pieces kept in a little box that once housed a Starbucks mug. 
Since when?
I can't recall exactly when but I was still living in the Netherlands — so over 10 years ago! Unfortunately, I had to leave that collection behind when I moved to Canada. 
I started collecting tags when I purchased an item that had a stunning, specialty printed tag on it. I'm pretty sure this was one of the first nice clothing items I got after getting my first (weekend) job, making my own money. 
Being a person that loved art and design from a young age, that tag was just something that stood out to me. It sparked a love for specialty printing that I still carry today. 
How does it inspire you as a designer?
What I love about my collection is that it is so closely related to being a designer and the craft of design that I so love. It is inspiring that something as basic as a clothing tag can actually be a thing of beauty.
I also like that my collection is compact and easy to carry. Clothing tags are not a huge object that require a special place to put them. I can easily keep my collection in a small box in my desk drawer and enjoy rifling though it whenever I need some inspiration.
Your favourites? 
My favourite tag at the moment is one from Paloma Wool. I love the blue and pink colour palette and the way that the differently-sized tags hang together. The play between pattern, typography and empty space is great and of course, I mostly love that it has a tiny letter-pressed line right in the centre of the front card. 
An item you aspire to have in your collection?
My collection is fairly casual — I come and go from it. In my mind, my collection is not really something that has to have a masterpiece or an aspirational item to procure. I just keep my collection for the love of good design and specialty print. 
Born and raised in the Netherlands, Lin’s design aesthetic has always been influenced by the Dutch design — characterized as minimalist, experimental, innovative and quirky. Lin blends these bold, hard edges with Canadian thoughtfulness to create design concepts that are beautiful, meaningful and full of stories. The majority of her work has been created for brands and people that are like-minded and draw awareness to the community, environment and outdoor culture. By providing her skillset, Lin has managed to amplify the voices of artists, outdoor enthusiasts and book publishers locally and internationally. 
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