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smithsonian folkways packaging


Folkways Records began in 1948 and was a trailblazer in bringing folk, bluegrass, spoken word, and world music to the American public. Their original album cover designs were noteworthy for their bold use of photography and straightforward type, but when the Smithsonian Institution acquired the label, the design of CD packages became wildly inconsistent with no brand identity.


Over 20 years and on more than 100 CD packages, Visual Dialogue has strived to re-establish a distinctive visual image for Smithsonian Folkways. Eschewing computer tricks or trendy graphics, we emphasize strong imagery and classic typography across a broad spectrum of musical genres, giving a new remix to the classic style and helping create what the New York Times called “the revitalization of Folkways records”.