Today 05:35 AM

Motown Graphic Design: The Motown Box Logo

I've always loved graphic design- all the elements including typeface, font, typography, logos and such. I honestly think when I started collecting Motown albums in junior high school, the interest intensified. I'd spend hours looking at the Motown album covers- the photography, typeface used for the titles and the various Motown label logos. One thing that stood out to me was how Motown seemed to keep tweaking the "MOTOWN" box logo. Not the early versions, but the one that began in 1965.

From the "Both Sides Now" site, it would seem the first album to feature the newly redesigned Motown Box logo was the eponymously-titled album, "Four Tops." But this gets tricky as Motown sometimes was withholding albums and not always releasing them sequentially. From everything I can tell, however, the Tops' LP, #622, would have come out in 1964, between the Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go" and "The Supremes A Bit Of Liverpool" albums- both of which feature the horizontal, rectangular Motown logo. But being that it came out January 21, 1965, it would seem to make it the first LP to receive the new-look Motown box logo.

This Motown box logo, though, was a rather slim box, a vertical, rectangular box. Then, in 1966, there was yet another Motown box logo introduced, this time a square box. This one was unveiled with MT/MS-654, "Four Tops Live", released November 16, 1966. Again, this is a case where Motown wasn't always releasing their albums sequentially- for example, the album, "The Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland" is MT/MS 650, which would have been immediately after "The Supremes A Go-Go", but in fact, wasn't released until the next year, 1967.

What's interesting about both of these versions of the Motown logo is that they feature the "MOTOWN" name with two horizontal bars, one above and one below the name. But then, suddenly, the horizontal bar above the "MOTOWN" was eliminated. This change happened between the "Four Tops Reach Out" album [[#660 July 17, 1967) and the "The Motown Sound A Collection Of 16 Big Hits Volume 7" [[#661 August 29, 1967) Seems like such a small change. Was it done for the sake of clarity, to make the "MOTOWN" text more easily readable? Or maybe for the sake of increased clarity when the logo was printed out in smaller formats.

None of this is really important, lol, but these are the types of things that really interest me about graphic design. [ I did this kind of quickly so some of the album covers aren't as clear as I'd like, but you can get the general idea of the changing logos) Attachment 20060Attachment 20061Attachment 20062Attachment 20062Attachment 20063Attachment 20064Attachment 20064Attachment 20065Attachment 20067Attachment 20068Attachment 20066
Today 04:38 AM

Upcoming Dionne release........

Soul Tracks is hinting at a February release entitled The Warner Brothers Years. I am just betting that David Nathan will be behind it. So let's spill whatever we might know or may have heard about it.

Will it be a box set similar to the Arista release? Any previously unreleased material? And for heaven's sake, make it available on CD whatever it is!!!

Details details!!!!
Yesterday 09:09 PM

The Shangri-Las

Any Shangri-las fans on here?

I've been listening to them a lot lately and one standout track to me is "The Train From Kansas City". The banging piano and train sounds, the harmonies and Mary's storytelling lead make it an excellent track. The girls had amazing harmony and vocals skills and what amazes me even more was that these were 15, 16 year old girls. I always think it'd interesting to hear how they'd evolve if they lasted past 1967.
Yesterday 03:38 AM

Four Classic Motown Album Vinyl Reissues by Elemental for Black Friday RSD

Elemental Music is reissuing classic Motown albums on vinyl for Black Friday Record Store Day: Where Did Our Love Go by The Supremes, Second Album by The Four Tops, Dance Party by Martha & the Vandellas, and Going To A Go Go by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.




11-29-2022 12:28 PM

Irene Cara Dies at 63

She was the first pop star I ever met. So kind and gracious to my mother and I that night in Universal City, CA in ‘86. I’m crushed.



Ralph Terrana

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