The covers provide a cross section of what was popular in display type at the time, although it’s difficult to make out one common trend. There’s the multiline/Op art theme (Black Line), the unearthed turn-of-the-century oddities (Tintoretto, Frankonia) including the hippie revival of Jugendstil/Secession forms (Dreamline), and the amorphous, bottom-heavy styles (Bottleneck, Putty Bold that came in fashion shortly before. At the same time, we see various sans serifs, ranging from classics to contemporary heavyweights (Antique Olive Compact, Neil Bold) and new interpretations of Art Deco themes (Washington, Premier Shaded), to futuristic ones (Handel Gothic). Eight out of 14 typeface designs originated in phototype and dry transfer, four were created in the previous three years. Now one could ask the chicken-and-egg question: Were those typefaces trending that were offered by the type providers? Or did the font makers respond to the current trends?
What I find more interesting is the fact that there were hardly any genre-specific typeface preferences yet. None of the featured typefaces is inherently “metal” or “hard rock”. This is different for the album: With the stylized blackletter on the cover, it’s instantly clear what kind of music it contains. Mean letterforms for mean music. On the international single sleeves, though, the styles are all over the place. Those were often made by local divisions of record labels and distributors. In most cases, the bands had no word in the design decisions. There was no well-defined genre typography yet, it was all still “pop type”. Just compare this set of covers to another one by ABBA from around the same time. The music and fanbase is very different. The type styles are fairly similar, though, and some fonts are even the same.