Mar 06

My Planet Express luggage tag

Or: Making a luggage tag that actually stands out from the crowd

I’ve done a quite a bit of travelling for business, but for a long time I managed to avoid buying specific luggage to do it. My grandparents gave me a set of LL Bean soft-sided luggage in the 80’s, and it has been well used and well loved. More recently, I’ve been borrowing my wife’s rolling suitcases for business trips, but those bags are almost as old as mine, and are starting to show it.

In the days when I was flying into Mexico to help get a packaging line running, nobody cared if I was carrying a duffle bag. But now that I’m just as likely to be a guy in a suit travelling with a bunch of other guys in suits, it makes some sense to carry what they carry. Finally, I broke down and got the rolling carry-on sized hard suitcase that pretty much every business traveler (and pilot) uses. It’s worked great so far. The downside is, I now have a suitcase that looks exactly like everyone else’s. Obviously, I needed some kind of unique identifier so I could spot my bag among its millions of relatives. And I’m not saying the pink ribbon on my wife’s bag didn’t work, but frankly, I saw a lot of those too.

Planet Express luggage tag

Planet Express luggage tag

If you go to shutterfly, they will make you a nifty metal luggage tag with a photo on one side and your information on the other, for about $5. Their templates are all set up for you to use personal photos or photos of your favorite places. But in practice, you can use a picture of just about anything. So I decided to veer off the script and go a little bit geekier. I googled around and found the Planet Express logo from Futurama, and then I added one of their slogans to it. It took quite a bit of tweaking to get everything to fit right in the shutterfly preview tool, but the finished product came out looking good and feeling sturdy.

What I like about this is that it looks enough like an actual corporate logo that most people will never give it a second glance. But those who do pay attention to it, whether they know the show or not, will probably get a kick out of it. Oh, I also love that it does its job: I’ve never seen another luggage tag like it.

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