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“When You Play It, Say It!” sticker

Contributed by Ian Lanius on Jul 15th, 2021. Artwork published in .
“When You Play It, Say It!” sticker
Photo: Ian Lanius. License: All Rights Reserved.

So, this is the classic sticker that you will sometimes see on promotional copies of old records. It was a not so subtle hint to try to get radio DJs to announce the name of the song when they played it on their station.

I’m looking to re-create it with slightly different text to put on T-shirts that I sell (When you wear it, share it!). I assume it’s some long lost phototype Helvetica clone, but I’m hoping you guys can point me to a digitization that has a straight tailed comma like the one in the example.



  • Helvetica Condensed




Artwork location

5 Comments on ““When You Play It, Say It!” sticker”

  1. Hello Ian,

    I agree; it’s probably some phototype version of Helvetica Condensed. The original schmalfett and schmalhalbfett cuts of the metal foundry version had this straight-tailed comma – these designs originated at Haas as Commercial-Grotesk halbfett and fett, see a specimen booklet.

    Among digital fonts, URW’s Nimbus Sans Bold Condensed preserves this detail. There are at least three different optical sizes; T (Text), D (Display), and P (Poster). I guess these are the closest available matches.

    Do you know when these stickers were made? A brief search showed records from the 1980s and early 1990s.

  2. Ian Lanius says:
    Jul 15th, 2021 2:54 pm

    Very nice, Thank You!

  3. Ian Lanius says:
    Jul 15th, 2021 3:02 pm

    And yes, it looks like the “play it, say it” campaign was started in 1988.…

    "The debate officially started a year ago with a Billboard magazine commentary by Don Ienner, then executive vice president and general manager of Arista Records and currently president of Columbia Records. In the piece, Ienner called the lack of song announcing a music industry “virus.”

  4. Ian Lanius says:
    Jul 15th, 2021 3:08 pm

    A cover story on the issue in The Gavin Report, a San Francisco-based radio industry trade publication.…

  5. Perfect, thanks for digging up these links. I’ve adjusted the design date.

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