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Tony Allen – The Source album art

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on May 1st, 2020. Artwork published in
August 2017
    Tony Allen – The Source album art 1
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Released in 2017, The Source is Tony Allen’s debut full-length album for Blue Note Records, following the 4-track EP A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

    The cover was designed by Rebecca Meek, with photography by Bernard Benant. The fat unicase font is Matrona, a winner in TDC’s 2010 Typeface Design competition. Hubert Jocham describes his design as “a very very very bold headline”. He comments on the background:

    When letterpress started with the Gutenberg bible, the typeface was like a texture. Before humanism type did not really need to be legible. The letters were rather drawn in an ornamental way. It filled a space. My idea for Matrona was to create a similar structure. I wanted it to be very bold and still as legible as possible. The result was a headline typeface that can fill almost all the space. You can even fill it with a picture. Or you create an ornament with contents.

    Matrona comes in three optical sizes, with slightly less delicate counters and notches for the smaller styles. In some regards, like the hefty weight and the common height of uppercase and lowercase glyphs, it reminds me of Jeremy Tankard’s Shire Types. While Matrona is a biform face, i.e. with two distinct forms at least for some letters, the Shire Types are unicase: The five different yet related members all have a single form for each letter. Matrona maximizes the reduction of the white, without becoming blocky like Fit or Assai.

    In memory of Tony Allen who died in Paris on 30 April 2020, aged 79.

    [More info on Discogs]

    Back cover of the vinyl release.  is paired with .
    Source: HHV. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Back cover of the vinyl release. Playfair Display is paired with Geogrotesque.

    The back cover of the CD release allows a better look at the typography.
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    The back cover of the CD release allows a better look at the typography.


    • Matrona
    • Playfair Display
    • Geogrotesque




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    1 Comment on “Tony Allen – The Source album art”

    1. See also the album art for Black Voices from 1999, which likewise uses a very black typeface with minimal counters:

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