Most people who have halfway decent car stereos and don’t listen to extreme noise bands probably haven’t had to touch a cassette tape in a decade or so–enough time for the cassette format’s many flaws to be lost in a haze of nostalgia. That and the fact that vinyl now gets shelf space at Best Buy means that anyone looking to adopt a contrarian retro recording format in 2009 is looking at tapes.

Luckily there are a lot of good-looking tapes out there, as evidenced by this Flickr set of vintage blank cassette-insert art posted by designer Bruce Jamieson. I know that there’s a weird subculture based around trading and selling old blank tapes, with certain makes and models fetching amounts that would be ridiculous even for rare things that actually had music on them. (It’s the kind of subculture that, after a certain amount of time on the Internet, you stop being surprised to hear about–and stop being surprised to learn is heavily Japanese.) That kind of behavior is at least a little more understandable in light of the excellent modern design on display in some of these inserts.

(via Grain Edit)