Does anyone remember Cow Gum?

For designers and artworkers of a certain age, the name, branding and distinctive smell of Cow gum will bring back some vivid memories.

Dagwood are celebrating our 50th year producing packaging artwork, print and mock-ups and thought we’d look back and describe some of the tools of the trade when artwork had to be literally cut up, positioned and pasted onto board by hand.

Cow gum was the glue of choice, it came in a distinctive red and white tin and had the consistency of very thick wallpaper paste. Artwork was cut with a scalpel and after an application of the gum with a spreader or a piece of card, pasted into place. Cow gum was ideal for paste-up work because it didn’t damage surfaces and could be peeled or rubbed off reasonably easily if anything needed to be moved. Of course, 50% of Cow gum went where you didn’t want it but that could be removed by rubbing the area with a ball of dried up cow gum that each time built up like a snowball. Once stuck down, however, the only way to get it off would be lighter fuel.

Some of you may have some interesting cow gum stories and some of you may not have heard of it but next time you are sitting at your MAC and ‘cut & paste’ just remember that it wasn’t always that easy!

Dagwood specialise in the printing and creation of low volume, production standard mockup packaging. We’d love to discuss your next project so please get in touch here: