Last week Noreen brought bacon-flavored beer to the office. I can’t say it was wonderful. It tasted like beer that had some bacon strips in the bottle. She also had maple-flavored beer. I could have made that with a Sam Adams and bottle of Mrs. Butterworth syrup. Which leads me to one of my favorite idioms, Psychedelic Victorian. You take some upstanding Victorian typography and elements, and run them through an acid trip color system. It doesn’t hurt to exaggerate typographic flourishes and mustaches. The record covers suggest music such as Maple Leaf Rag sung by The Doors. But, most of it is just nice barbershop quartet and ragtime music. If you ask me, however, someone new and groovy should start singing some of those good old songs like Oh’ Susanna.
Posts Tagged ‘Record Covers’
Last week I had lunch with one of my favorite designers, Michael Carabetta. Since Michael is the creative director at Chronicle Books, the subject turned to, yes shocking, books. Michael suggested I look at Paul Bacon’s work. The more I researched Bacon’s work, the clearer it became that this was a remarkable treasure of incredible work. The book and album covers are energetic, surprising, and spontaneous. They never feel forced or overworked. Yesterday, I briefly fell in love with a new cookbook’s design. Then, after looking at Bacon’s work, I quickly recognized how the cookbook was desperately overdesigned.
Bacon’s love for jazz is apparent in the work. It feels open and clear, never rigid or constipated. However, the spontaneity should not be misunderstood as easy. The ideas are big, smart, and beautifully crafted. We can look back and say, “Times were different. You could walk in a room, present a solution and everyone would cheer. The they’d head out for martinis, cigarettes and flirting.” But, like today, I’m sure everyone had an opinion and wanted something different. Bacon’s work is a testament to the ability to express an idea articulately and sell it. There is obvious passion here.
James Victore’s article on aiga.org captures Bacon’s essence beautifully. I love that he can, “tell a joke so dirty that it would singe off yer eyebrows.” This reminded me of my great friend Doyald Young, and that made my day.
If you were “with it” in 1967 you went to cocktail parties in Malibu, drove a yellow Corvette, made macramé plant holders, and listened to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. You may already know Herb Alpert from Casino Royale (the first one), or Pee Wee Herman’s dance to Tequila. In today’s hustle and bustle world, I find Herb Alpert to be the perfect music for the drive home. It’s relaxing, fresh, and pretty groovy. I have a special weakness for 1960s Victorian revivalist typography. This is the kind of typographic layout seen at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour. Alpert’s 1965 album, Whipped Cream & Other Delights, is the prime example of this. I tried using this kind of composition on a magazine project recently. I thought it was the hippest thing I’d ever done. The client just laughed and said, “That reminds me of something old timey. Like a Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour.” And…
I never know which posts will actually be read by anyone. I’m sure only 4 people a day go to the blog, but oddly, it gets a good deal of traffic. Our last post on filthy record covers had almost 2,000 unique visitors. I know what it must be like to try to program a network. Certain subjects that I’m sure will be a big hit fall flat. The Polish posters were incredible, but perhaps they’ve gotten too much airtime elsewhere. That post tanked. Any “It’s a Small World” post does well, and the highest ratings go to anything related to gossip. To date, the outfits at the AIGA Gala is the highest rated post. I guess that is why Us magazine sells better than the Utne Reader.
If I were to think like a network executive, I would look for past hits and try to repeat them. But my mind is a sieve and I don’t want to be a slave to ratings. Today, however, I will capitalize on the success of Monday’s post, The Sweet Sounds of Filth. Also, my good friend, Clive Piercy, sent me some of his favorite covers from his own collection. These clearly point to Clive’s disturbed state of mind. He has, however, proven that Stefan Bucher is indeed a musical star in Germany.
Having images sent to me by others makes my job easier. I’m glad to post them if they work. And as I’ve said before, “Take credit, deny everything, blame others.”