An independent archive of typography.

Elvis Presley – Frankie and Johnny album art

Photo(s) by Bart Solenthaler. Imported from Flickr on Jul 2, 2023. Artwork published in
March 1966
Elvis Presley – Frankie and Johnny album art
Source: Uploaded to Flickr by Bart Solenthaler and tagged with “clarendonornamented”. License: All Rights Reserved.

Album cover for the soundtrack to Frankie and Johnny, a Western musical film starring Elvis Presley as a riverboat gambler, released by RCA Victor in March 1966.

The multicolored display typeface is a version of Clarendon Ornamented. This shaded Clarendon with solid top and open bottom halves decorated with diamonds or spikes goes back to a wood typeface first shown in 1859 by William H. Page & Cosee it in a specimen from 1874. Today this design is best known under the name Rosewood, which is a digital revival made in the early 1990s as part of the Adobe Wood Type 3 package. The specific font used here is very likely the phototype adaptation made by Headliners as part of the Morgan Press Collection, which is listed as W 105 in a catalog from 1964. This revival (or another, similar one) later also went under the name Coffee Can Initials.

“RCA Victor” is set in Thunderbird and “presents” in Akzidenz-Grotesk. The two condensed sans serifs are yet unidentified [they appear to be Akzidenz-Grotesk Condensed, see comments].

[More info on Discogs]


  • Clarendon Ornamented
  • Thunderbird
  • Akzidenz-Grotesk
  • Akzidenz-Grotesk Condensed




Artwork location

8 Comments on “Elvis Presley – Frankie and Johnny album art”

  1. Already the original wood typeface was made as a chromatic design. That is, Clarendon Ornamented was optionally available as a set of two layer fonts, Outside and Inset, which could be printed in two runs, in different colors. Here is a page from Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, &c by William H. Page & Co. from 1874. The color scheme with yellow and pink that yield a third red tone when overprinted is not too different from the setting on the album cover.

    Scan: © Columbia University Libraries

  2. Now to you, Mr. Hardwig: You constantly bring us outstanding information that amazes at the diversity of your knowledge. There are few people who can hold me similarly in the reading process.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Kurt! I’m constantly learning myself while working on Fonts In Use, and I’m happy to share interesting finds.

  4. Agreed, added (Standard is the name under which Akzidenz-Grotesk was distributed in the United States).

  5. All in all, it should also be mentioned that Dieter Hofrichter also had a hand in Akzidenz-Grotesk. Unfortunately, this is too often ignored. After the Rödl art school, he explored the secrets of functional fonts with Günter Gerhard Lange. During this work, fonts such as the aforementioned Akzidenz, Futura BQ, Wittingham, Imago, Berthold Garamond and a few more were created.

  6. During this work, fonts such as the aforementioned Akzidenz […] were created.

    This makes it sound like Hofrichter is the creator of Akzidenz-Grotesk, which of course isn’t the case. ;-) He didn’t have a hand in the original 1898 release nor in the version used on this 1966 record sleeve.

    But yes, it’s correct that Dieter Hofrichter worked on digital versions of Akzidenz-Grotesk. He’s specifically credited for AG Royal, a text orientated version designed together with G.G. Lange in 2006–2012; and Akzidenz-Grotesk Next, developed together with Bernd Möllenstädt and released in 2007.

  7. He was born too late for 1898 and was only 19 years old in 1966. If one believes Erik Spiekermann, most font designers only manage to design their first good fonts after the age of forty. That all speaks in favor of your explanation.

Post a comment