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80 years of National Book Tokens



Launches online archive to celebrate

80 years of National Book Tokens


To celebrate 80 years of inspiring book buyers across the UK, National Book Tokens has created an online archive of the past eight decades of its advertising and product design.
The archive, which resides on National Book Tokens’ Facebook page (, depicts the changing face of design and communications across the 80-year period. It includes advertising from wartime Britain, where books epitomised the very freedom of thought that was so resolutely defended.  Wartime advertising campaigns featured in the archive ‘In this war, books are weapons!’ and ‘Even books are in battle dress’, while 20th century campaigns include the quirky ‘Book Nuts’ advertisements.
As well as work created by Richmond Towers, which started working with National Book Tokens in 1937 and is one of the UK’s longest established communications agencies, the archive features campaigns created by National Book Tokens past agencies DaCosta and Farm Communications. The archive includes current day National Book Tokens campaigns, created by one of London's most highly regarded integrated agencies Kitcatt Nohr Digitas.
The archive includes examples of product design, such as specially-commissioned illustrations by leading pre-war artists such as Sir Muirhead Bone, iconic 50s design, the old ‘lick and stick’-style tokens, and modern gift cards illustrated by the UK’s best-loved children’s illustrators.
National Book Tokens were invented by the entrepreneurial publisher Harold Raymond, as he sought a gift alternative to unwanted “ashtrays, powder puffs and flower vases”, and launched on 14th November, 1932.
National Book Tokens were the UK’s first ever gift voucher and are as relevant today as when the day they launched, becoming part of Britain’s literary landscape. This well-known and trusted brand – now a gift card that can be used on and offline for physical and eBooks – continues to inspire millions of readers to choose millions of books in thousands of bookshops every year.
National Book Tokens – Inspiring Choice.
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