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Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Quantity Produced

Production Cost

$99.98 Retail

Production Time

4 months

Dimensions (Width × Height × Depth)

6.625 in × 11.25 in

Page Count


Paper Stock

Number of Colors



Cover: Matte Film Lamination
Disc Pages and Endpapers: Spot Aqueous


Hard Cover, Section-sewn, "Lay-flat" Binding


Trade Gothic Extended
New Century Schoolbook


In its own words, the Smithsonian strives for THE “increase and diffusion of knowledge.” It also happens to be the largest museum complex in world. So if the smithsonian decides to do anthology of jazz music, you better listen closely and pay attention. A project like this is no small feat, and you can gather that Visual Dialogue really busted their chops on this one.

Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology traces the history of jazz through 6 CDs (111 tracks) and a 200-page book featuring essays by 30 writers and a treasury of rarely-seen photographs. Visual Dialogue referenced the graphics and color palette of original Folkways JAZZ LP covers but created an entirely contemporary package. The interior layout has a “theme and variation” layout with body text tightly adhered to the grid, while title blocks and photos are free to move. It was great to see that time magazine called it “the single best introduction to America’s first great musical form.”

One of the main challenges from a design standpoint was coming up with a package design which integrated the CDs into the overall book form. Once that was finally worked out the rest of the design fell in place.

Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology --- Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology --- Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology --- Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology --- Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology --- Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology --- Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology --- Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology --- Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology --- Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology --- Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology --- Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology


Recent Posts



Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology Book


Production Method



Visual Dialogue
Design Director: Fritz Klaetke
Designers: Fritz Klaetke, Will Thomas, Jesse Hart



Manufacturing: Tri-Plex Packaging
Manufacturing Representative: Jason Roth, Tri-Plex Production
Manager: Mary Monseur, Folkways

This post was published in the original layout of FPO so all images are smaller. Project descriptions as well as production lessons are quoted in the main content area.

Post Author

Lauren Dickens

Author Picture

Lauren Dickens

Former intern at UnderConsideration LLC.

More: Online / On Twitter


Date Published

June 2, 2011


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