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The Playboy Jazz All-Stars album cover

Contributed by Herb Lubalin Study Center on Apr 26th, 2020. Artwork published in .
    The Playboy Jazz All-Stars album cover 1
    Source: https://www.chicago.gov License: All Rights Reserved.

    Above is actually the wonderful back cover of the Playboy Jazz All-Stars compilation record. The back is less striking than the front all-important results of Playboy’s first annual jazz poll. Billboard magazine, in its December 9, 1959 issue named it the Album Cover of the Week, and said the “striking design will be a sure attention-getter.” It also referred to this as the cover which further reiterates that this back cover was seen as the main selling point rather than the simpler front cover. The attention that the record received brought McBain’s name into the spotlight which he leveraged to start his own design studio, McBain Associates. In the span of only a couple of years, McBain designed over 75 record covers, mostly for Mercury Records.

    The back cover (as front cover) uses Egyptian Expanded to set the names of the artists featured on this compilation. The names are set without wordspaces letting the color indicate the beginning of each new name, creating a clever, and almost an abstract design. The liner notes use Century Expanded for most of the body copy, with Venus for headlines on the opening page.

    The image comes from the “African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce and the Politics of Race” exhibition held in Chicago Cultural Center in October 2018. It is included in an essay that was published with the show (PDF of it). Read more about Emmett McBain and his career on his 2017 AIGA medalist page.

    Front cover of the album.
    Source: https://raggywaltz.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Front cover of the album.

    The liner notes were not the usual insert but bound into the record cover like a gatefold.
    Source: https://raggywaltz.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    The liner notes were not the usual insert but bound into the record cover like a gatefold.

    The booklet included extensive notes and bios on all of the performers.
    Source: https://raggywaltz.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    The booklet included extensive notes and bios on all of the performers.

    The last page lists the credits for the production, as well as the design credit for Emmett McBain of Playboy.
    Source: https://raggywaltz.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    The last page lists the credits for the production, as well as the design credit for Emmett McBain of Playboy.

    Second volume of the set had a white background.
    Source: https://store.acousticsounds.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Second volume of the set had a white background.

    Volume 3 of the series with a magenta color-way.
    Source: https://www.discogs.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Volume 3 of the series with a magenta color-way.

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