New and improved tools are always being created and introduced in order to get a job done more efficiently, but if this is the case, why is our world slowly falling apart? The American Toolbox has all the traditional and essential tools that we need to help fix our society’s problems together. Designed as a vintage tool catalog that outlines some of our more protonate problems, allowing us to see where we have gone wrong and what we can do to change it. Each tool is designed specifically to fix each individual problem with just a twist, clamp, or a pull. Unlike other tool catalogs, these tools are traditional and handmade, which means they can withstand the test of time and can take on any challenge that may be in our way without a problem.

Art Direction:

Paul Sheriff


This was an individual project that I was inspired by one of my previous car-related projects that I ended up creating in my portfolio class. My initial concept was to create a tool catalog based on the idea of using old tools to fix new society based problems. This would give me the chance to highlight some of the more protonate problems in our society and show people why these problems are arising and what we can do to fix them.

Working on cars is something that I enjoy, so I was intrigued by the idea of making my own tool catalog with a slight twist. As I conducted my research, it was clear that I could relate information I found about problems in society to the way tools had been advertised in the past through things like typography. I was inspired by old Snapon tool catalogs along with fashion catalogs created by Cipe Pineles and advertisements created by Max Bill. I decided to base my catalog off the more traditional and well-known tools while using words that described them in my copy text to make the connection clear. It was important to me to show the idea that old tools last longer than the tools that are made today, which is why I went with the more vintage-styled layout.

This eventually leads me to create a catalog with a system of more “American” colors and simple illustrations with a slight texture to relate back to the vintage tool advertisements that were so popular back in the day. I choose a variety of vintage typefaces that connected back to typefaces that were being used in tool posters during the 50s.  The slightly playful nature of this broken gridded layout makes the viewer want to be a part of what is happening which makes for a more experimental and interesting experience when reading it.

Beginning sketches for page layouts and tool designs