Levi's Vintage: Analog Graphics
Levi's Vintage has been a client that is uniquely fun to research and create for. Depending on the style of the era of their current season of vintage-inspired offerings, I am occasionally tasked with creating graphic designs to be used as promotions and to help flesh out their regularly published lookbooks. These have been all about geeking out on graphic details. To begin with, I am given era-accurate photography by the hugely talented Immo Klink. Some of the nostalgic themes we've covered have been 1940s baseball, the 1950s New York art scene, the late 1950s–60s jazz movement, the 1967 summer of love and 1960s–70s drive-in exploitation films. I've enjoyed getting my hands dirty with analogue lettering and paste-up design techniques for these in order to get era-believable looks (making-of video at the bottom of this page).
The analog process
It was loads of fun creating imagined album covers in the style of late 50s–60s jazz 12" sleeves for contemporary artists Chris Lewis, Stacy Dillard, Ismail Lawal, Luther Allison and Brandee Younger. Respect to Levis Vintage Clothing for going the extra mile to hire real musicians instead of models to wear their clothes for this photo shoot, and for being down with my approach of incorporating plenty of practical analog techniques before entering the computer world. All of these album covers and many more great photos by Immo Klink have been beautiully published in the seasonal collectible hardcover lookbooks.
I looked at 100s of classic covers before creating my interpretations, but the main ones that I referenced are below, and we mostly bit from the Blue Note dream team of Reid Miles and Francis Wolff:
Freddie Hubbard – Hub-Tones (1962) | Label: Blue Note | Design: Reid Miles | Photography: Francis Wolff
Nat King Cole / George Shearing – Nat King Cole Sings / George Shearing Plays (1961) | Label: Capitol Records | Photogaphy: Ken Veeder
Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers – Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers (1958) | Label: Blue Note | Photography: Buck Hoeffler
Jackie McLean – Swing, Swang, Swingin' (1960) | Label: Blue Note | Design: Reid Miles | Photography: Francis Wolff
Willis Jackson – 'Gator Tails (1964) | Label: Verve Records | Design: Acy R. Lehman | Photography: Chuck Stewart
Herbie Nichols Trio – Herbie Nichols Trio (1956) | Label: Blue Note | Design: Reid Miles | Photography: Francis Wolff
Lee Morgan – Search For The New Land (1966) | Label: Blue Note | Design: Reid Miles | Photography: Francis Wolff
Pharoah Sanders – Tauhid (1967) | Label: Impulse! | Design: Joe Lebow | Photography: Charles Stewart
Don Cherry – Complete Communion (1966) | Label: Blue Note | Design: Reid Miles | Photography: Francis Wolff
The audio of the above video was taken from an interview with John Coltrane recorded July 18, 1966 at Tokyo Prince Hotel for TBS Television, Inc. and which was pressed as a promotional 7" flexi which came with the first pressing of the Japanese release of A Love Supreme in 1967.