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Luiz Bonfá – Jacarandá album art

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Oct 9th, 2021. Artwork published in .
    Front cover of the Som Livre pressing.
    Source: https://www.violaobrasileiro.com.br Violão Brasileiro. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Front cover of the Som Livre pressing.

    Jacarandá is an album by prolific Brazilian guitarist and composer Luiz Floriano Bonfá (1922–2001). It was released in 1973, with two different cover designs. Ranwood’s version features a photograph showing a peculiar detail of a tree (a Jacarandá?), taken by Bonfá himself. Domestic label Som Livre apparently didn’t trust the commercial appeal of this find. They relegated the bark to the back, and rather went with a photograph of the artist and his guitar for the front cover. This picture was taken by his wife, singer and songwriter Maria Toledo (1937–2010).

    Front cover of the Ranwood Records pressing.
    Source: https://wfmu.org License: All Rights Reserved.

    Front cover of the Ranwood Records pressing.

    The typography of both versions features two rare and spectacular typefaces. Bonfá’s name is set in Aztec. This wide all-caps sans with rounded corners was shown by Californian phototype service Lettergraphics in their 1968 catalog. Its unknown designer aimed for a 3-dimensional look by adding a gradient of dots. The letterforms hence resemble worked stones as found in meso-American monuments. On the album cover, the gradient isn’t smooth: the inner parts are printed in a light green, the edges in a dark green, separated by a jagged inline in white. The acute accent on the A probably wasn’t included in the font, and added ad hoc.

    Aztec as shown in a Lettergraphics catalog fom 1969.
    Source: https://www.flickr.com Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

    Aztec as shown in a Lettergraphics catalog fom 1969.

    “Design & Poster” – alphabet by Ross F. George as shown in the 13th edition of his Speedball Text Book (1938).
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    “Design & Poster” – alphabet by Ross F. George as shown in the 13th edition of his Speedball Text Book (1938).

    The typeface used for the title is an interesting one, too. It’s shown by Lettergraphics as Split Ends in their 1976 catalog (but not yet in one from 1969). The same face is reproduced under the name Split Caps in Castcraft’s Enyclopedia of Phototype Styles (1978) as well as in Special Effects and Topical Alphabets, a source book compiled by by Dan X. Solo and published by Dover in 1978. The design goes back to an (incomplete) alphabet by lettering artist Ross F. George, presented on a page labeled “Design & Poster” in the 13th edition of his Speedball Text Book from 1938, with less detailing than the phototype adaptation(s). There are various digital interpretations.

    The Brazilian pressing additionally has a line in Windsor, proudly announcing that the record was “gravado em Los Angeles–USA”. The Som Livre logo is in Riverside Drive (ca. 1970), and “Estereo” in Stop (1971). The yellow sticker-like addition combines a wide sans and a serif, both in all-caps. These could be Trade Gothic Extended and Bodoni Bold.

    Front cover of the Som Livre pressing.
    Source: https://www.acervocult.com.br Acervo Cult. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Front cover of the Som Livre pressing.

    Back cover of the Som Livre pressing.
    Source: https://www.acervocult.com.br Acervo Cult. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Back cover of the Som Livre pressing.

    Front cover of a promotional copy of the Ranwood Records pressing.
    Source: https://aucfan.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Front cover of a promotional copy of the Ranwood Records pressing.

    [More info on Discogs]

    Typefaces

    • Aztec
    • Split Ends
    • Riverside Drive
    • Windsor
    • Stop
    • Trade Gothic
    • Bodoni

    Formats

    Topics

    Designers/Agencies

    Artwork location

    1 Comment on “Luiz Bonfá – Jacarandá album art”

    1. Here’s a better view of Aztec’s speckle pattern, extracted from a showing in Lettergraphics’s 1976 catalog.

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