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The Beach Boys Pet Sounds album cover

Contributed by Nick Sherman on Nov 20th, 2012. Artwork published in 1966.
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Source: http://www.discogs.com. License: All Rights Reserved.

Often credited with sparking a resurgance in the use of Cooper Black in the 1960s and ’70s, the tightly-set typography on the cover for Pet Sounds remains an icon of American music culture.

From Back Through The Opera Glass:

The yellow and white colouring that makes it stand out on the dark green background draws the eye to the top left of the sleeve […] and it is credit[ed] to Capitol’s (perhaps unknowing) art department, reportedly one Tommy Steele being the man behind the design, that this simple style has registered so deeply amongst music lovers worldwide.

Cover photography credited to George Jerman.


4 Comments on “The Beach Boys Pet Sounds album cover”

  1. Nick Sherman says:
    Nov 21st, 2012  12:15 am
    Edit

    Somehow it just doesn’t feel the same without the Cooper Black.

  2. Nov 21st, 2012  7:36 am
    Edit

    Paul Shaw reminds us not to ignore the song titles. They are set in Clarendon, as Cooper Black wouldn’t work well at such smaller sizes.

  3. Nick Sherman says:
    Nov 21st, 2012  8:04 pm
    Edit

    Right. They didn’t seem to mind using harder-to-read typefaces on the back of the album though, including Futura Black, and some log-based substance (Rustic?) for the song listing.

  4. Nick Sherman says:
    Nov 22nd, 2012  2:50 am
    Edit

    Some great commentary on the back cover’s typography, from Back Through The Opera Glass:

    However, flip the original LP cover over and the confusion over how to market the ‘new style’ Beach Boys is never more apparent. Not only do we have the clash of stripe-shirt freedom with artistic pose and poise, but in the chosen text we also have a clash of simplistic STENCIL print, with the more intense wooden, bamboo-style font that lists the album title and songs. There is simply too much to capture in one look, and the miss-match of styles tends to deflect the attention away from the beauty within. But wasn’t that the problem back in the middle of all of this change ? The 1960’s that had seen the clean-cut freshman image had been pushed aside as the hair grew longer, the colours became brighter, and the mind expanded to horizons it had not tapped into before. The times indeed, were a-changin’ … and so, perhaps belatedly, were The Beach Boys …

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