Something Curious: security envelope patterns

Ever thought about those patterns you find on the backs of envelopes? Look closely, and you'll discover many different patterns - we've collected a few here for your appreciation. 

Although the history of these patterns is elusive, it's thought that some of the first were used in US Government settings, such as the White House, in the 1920s. 

The examples pictured are all taken from the collection of over 150 designs amassed by designer Joseph King on Flickr. Joseph, a designer, is fan of the beauty in everyday items such as these, "typically designed by a layperson, and born from function rather than aesthetics. Once you take notice, you see them everywhere - it's fun to see how many you can find and the variations."

Found an example not pictured here? You can submit it to Joseph's collection and help this incredible online archive grow. 

See Joseph's full collection here, or you can see more examples in our Letters issue (issue 32), out 11 August.