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Traffic – John Barleycorn Must Die

Contributed by Fonts In Use Staff on Jun 9th, 2018. Artwork published in
July 1970
    Source: Uploaded to Flickr by Klaus Hiltscher and tagged with “rusticno2”. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The grey cardboard cover (turned yellow over time) of a German cover of John Barley Must Die. Island Records were distributed through Phonogram at the time.

    If had been around in the 1970s, it might have had tags and trends like “revival”, “1900s style” and “pre-war printshop”, featuring this album cover for Traffic’s John Barleycorn Must Die. From subject and music genre to illustrations (advertising and printing stereotypes) and typefaces, everything about this album is a 1970s perspective on the late 19th, early 20th century.

    The title and band name on the cover are set in a shaded variant of Rustic, an organic looking all caps typeface with shapes that mimic tree branches. The origins of Rustic are not entirely clear and nowadays it can be found under many names, with and without shadow.

    The roman is a phototype version of Weiß-Antiqua, which is internationally better known as Weiss, or Weiss Roman. The design has been revisited and released under different names in the digital age. Messer is a recent reinterpretation by Inga Plönnigs, released through Future Fonts.

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Back cover from a French release, set in Weiss.

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    The US release by United Artists Records had the front cover design on a background consisting of a photograph of burlap. The original UK by Island Records release featured a grey background. [Discogs]

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Back cover, United Artists Records

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    A color photograph of the band inside the gatefold cover.


    • Rustic No. 2
    • Weiss




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