Mixtape damask is the second pattern in the punk damask series because I wanted to pay homage to the mixtape. While audio cassettes have recently had a modest revival with hipsters and record companies for their low cost in production and their difficulty in conversion to digital format, long gone are the days when people would share mixtapes.

Mixtapes Were a Sign of Friendship

I can remember how much it meant to me to get a mixtape from a friend. You could almost measure the depth of a meaningful friendship by the number of mixtapes that were carefully prepared and shared. It was always appreciated the amount of time it would take to fill a 60 or 90-minute tape with carefully curated songs. How close the new music would match your personal preference or challenge your perceptions of music would also indicate how well your friend knew you. Sometimes songs were strategically recorded from the radio when they aired for the first time. Other times it was a collection of new favourites.

Explicit content was all the rage in middle school. It seemed like the parental advisory sticker was less a deterrent than it was a call to action.

Mixtapes Were a Form of Contraband

Sometimes it was a way of sneaking music into the house that otherwise would have been banned from consumption by juvenile ears. Often purposely mislabeled “Tiffany” or “Wilson Phillips,” these tapes would contain the likes of Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Ministry, the Ramones, Public Enemy and Pearl Jam. Explicit content was all the rage in middle school. It seemed like the parental advisory sticker was less a deterrent than it was a call to action. When your favourite band didn’t have the sticker, they were said to have “lost their edge” to appease the PMRC. Looking back, it seems as though it was just another form of rebellion that no one paid much attention to.

Mixtapes Had a Life of Their Own

The mixtapes had a life of their own too. If played in a rogue player, they could be warped, chewed and mangled, forever changing the playback and quality. My mixtapes were no strangers to the Canadian winter neither, often suffering from hypothermia and never fully recovering. Those mixtapes were unique (usually the only ones of their kind in existence). They would still be played through the stretched and garbled sections and parts held together with Scotch tape. It meant I had a special version of a song that no one else had.

Mixtape Damask as a Punk Tribute

As an ode to the mixtape, I have created a damask pattern that is friendly and organic. Its flourishes and leaves integrate into the image of the cassette so well it may go unnoticed. Much like the collection of mixtapes I kept in my youth, this pattern holds meaning beyond its hidden imagery. Like a damask pattern, the more unique a mixtape, the better it was. It is symbolic of the lively collections of tapes that played in car stereos on road trips. The pattern reminds me of pregaming, basement hangouts and campfire sessions. It is a reminder of the carefully crafted thematic compilations for every occasion.

However, my mixtape collection is no more. I no longer own a cassette player. Nevertheless, my love for all kinds of music has remained. But lost are the mixtapes of my youth.

If you liked this article, you might like other articles in this series, like Damask for the Masses Part I and Damask for the Masses Part III.

Do you have a custom pattern idea? Share it with me by email through my Cyan Bold Design website.