Sony BHF 90 Cover Tribute

This is an entry in my audio cassette cover tribute series where I create audio cassette inlay designs that take elements of the original design and can then be printed on your home computer to be used with your own home cassettes.

Description

The Sony BHF 90 is a Type I (ferric-oxide) audio cassette tape with a total recording time of 90 minutes (45 minutes per side) from 1981.

Bob Leggitt writes on his blog, Tape Tardis:

The Sony BHF was a good normal bias tape, ranking higher than the base-level CHF in the range – costing more, but providing very obviously better quality. The BHF resisted drop-outs pretty well too – especially for a relatively bright-sounding Type 1 cassette at the beginning of the 1980s.

My copy of the tape currently has a recording of U2’s 1984 album The Unforgettable Fire on side A and Talking Head’s 1985 album Little Creatures on the B side side. It is a loose tape with no original inlay card so I took it upon myself to re-create the design from a series of photographs of complete sets.

I mainly used just one reference image which I found via a Google Image search, hosted on the colls.ru website. This photograph is a nice high resolution copy of the cassette label and both sides of the inlay. Although the image is of a high resolution and it could be possible to perform a 1:1 restoration of the original design here I prefer to make my own scans where possible to avoid any issues with loss of quality from JPEG compression. Using this picture I was however able to get a clear view of the general layout of the card.

Working from the rear flap of the inlay I managed to find a font online (using the WhatTheFont service) that was very close to the font used on the BHF 90 logo that is found repeated in the design. The closest font I could find that was accurate enough was Talbot Types’ Kamerik 105 which comes in various styles but I used Book and Bold in my design. This font is not free to download however a quick Google search will return download links for the font in common TTF and OTF formats – just please make sure not to use this font for commercial use. The “90” letters that appear on the design here can be imitated quite closely using the Kamerik 105 typeface by entering the number as 9O (nine-“O” for oscar). Curiously Sony also produced a 60 minute variant of this tape, the aptly named BHF 60, which appears to simply invert the 9 on the logo as it can be read as a six or a nine depending on orientation.

Still on the rear flap I decided to use the original SONY formatted logo (still in use today, 2019!) but instead of having it be green I opted for it to be white as it was used for the later issues of this tape from Sony that used foil labels (image example) and was also the choice for tapes measured in minutes over length (see image example below). The reason for this is I felt that it off-set the dark and green colours nicely, and I preferred it to the original design of all text taking on a green appearance. An colour picker tool informed me that the green colour used was hex code #23b068 or RGB 35, 176, 104 which to my eyes and on my IPS monitors looks to be reasonably accurate. I changed the layout to that used on the design where the tape is measured in minutes (instead of tape length) as can be seen in the (very low resolution) image example below.

(Image Credit to Allegro.pl)

Continuing with this layout choice I also opted for the phrase 90 MINUTES ( 45 MIN. EACH SIDE ) under the BHF logo instead of the phrase on the original reference image of “135m COMPACT CASSETTE CASSETTE COMPACTE”. The reason for this is that not many people really concern themselves with the length of an audio cassette and so the fact the tape is 135 metres long is lost on many. The font weight chosen here was Book from the same Kamerik 105 typeface.

Moving from the rear flap and to the spine I chose to stick pretty close to the original design found on the reference image. A black header strip with a white Sony logo, a green BHF logo above the footer and then a green footer with a black 90 superimposed over the top. The white area in the middle gives apt space for a title and is wide enough for possibly two lines of text if required.

Regarding the main flap, wherein the track-listing often appears, I went for a rather simplistic grid system and dropped all additional colours, logos or text. The area is split evenly down the middle and provides 11 track positions per side (resulting in 22 tracks on the tape in total – assuming an approximate track duration of 4 minutes would bring the total run time to 88 minutes). The reason for this is I often find with original cards they do not always provide enough space to fully write down the Artist/Performer and the track title in the space given, so I dropped the extraneous information that is found on the original including track duration (“count”), date and if Dolby Noise Reduction (NR) was used in the recording). This gives as much real-estate as possible to be used for the track titles.

This design is only a single-sided design, however it would be easy enough to create an “inside” inlay by simply rotating the track list section 180 degrees, setting the colours on the spine to be just black and using a normal type face for the original Notice section found on the original reference image.

For the labels I stuck quite close to the original design however I have made a few changes. Any small text that I felt was unnecessary has been removed including “INDEX” from the top label, C90 on the B Side and the Noise Reduction/Dolby NR markers. I have also changed the play direction arrow to be black instead of green as I feel it looks better black.

Fonts Used

Kamerik 105 by Talbot Type

Download Template Files

How To Use

These are Photoshop project files (PSD) so simply download them and open them up in Photoshop, they should be the correct size for this tape already.

For the inlay I suggest a heavy weight paper or card choice, try and keep the card choice matte finish if possible.

For the labels you can use any sticker paper suitable for inkjet printers and simply affix the labels on the cassette.

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