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The following table summarises the major changes to EMI's pre-recorded tape products in terms of packaging design.  They are arranged by format, date and in some cases, split further according to the printers used.


Printer's key =


Ernest J. Day & Co.

G & L

Garrod & Lofthouse Ltd.


Data Packaging Corporation


Icons_TapeFormat_TA Icons_TapeFormat_8X Icons_TapeFormat_TC

Twin-track mono tapes running at 3 3/4 i.p.s. recorded on EMITAPE, housed in carboard boxes.  Boxes include EMITAPE promotional flyers and packing slip containing handwritten quality code for use when returning faulty copies.


EMI acquire and become manufacturers / distributors for the World Record Club.  Packaging style same as with other EMI releases.


EMI musicassette production starts.  Manufacturing is outsourced to "Tape Duplicating", a division of Philips, rather than producing them in-house.


Labels and inlays both state "SOLD IN U.K." message.  Cassette labels start off in batches of pale blue (1966-67), light pink (1967-68) and dark orange (1968-69).


By late 1969, lime green is settled upon.


Inlay covers are full-height but not in full colour.  Edited sleevenotes are included.


Four-track stereo versions become available, housed in clear plastic snap-cases (like jewel cases).  These are issued concurrently with twin-track mono versions for a time.



                Assembly of 8-track cartridges begins at EMI in Hayes.  They are issued in generic cardboard slip cases.  The cover image is printed in colour on the cartridge's top label along with a summary tracklisting, which show through a hole in the cardboard case.  A second label on the underside of the cartridge shell gives more detailed information including composers, publishers and catalogue numbers.

At this point, the "SOLD IN U.K." message is withdrawn from all formats.

1964  mid


Twin-track mono tapes are discontinued.

EMI opens its own cassette duplication plant in Hayes.  First title to run off its production line is The Beatles' Let It Be.  Inlay printing style of 11/69 continues, except that the inside flip is now used to carry adverts for other EMI tape titles.  The sleeve reverse is no longer included.  


Cassette label colour changes to bright yellow.

1970  JULY

                Cardboard covers are dropped in favour of shrinkwrapping the cartridges directly.  Plastic 'keepers' are supplied to provide protective cover to the exposed tape area at the top.


Production of cartridges is ramped-up in conjunction with the sales drive for in-house-made cassettes.

All reel-to-reel tapes are discontinued.

Inlay printing style is standardised to white top, colour album sleeve image on front face (with catalogue nos. (UK and 1E) and sleeve reverse on inside flip), and tracklisting on the back face.


are the sole printers of this period.

1970  AUGUST

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'Tombstone' label design is introduced (for the top label).  The font for underside label details is standardised to Univers.

Date/printer codes are added to the underside labels (cartridges) and inlays (cassettes).


are the sole printers of this period.


Catalogue number (UK only) is added to the top-left-hand corner of the inlay front.  Still white background.


Label logos are updated to the 'black box' EMI style.

1971  AUGUST

Small top label with EMI global slogan on a black background is introduced to show through cardboard tray that slides out from the lower portion of the hanging board.


Underside label style remains unchanged.

Standard cases and inlays return.  

White top style continues.  


Use mixture of Univers, Helvetica and Compacta fonts.


add UK and international catalogue numbers to the front of inlays in the white strip.  Gill Sans font used, first on front, then eventually throughout.


same as G&L except using Univers on the front


Cassette label colour changes to flourescent greeny-yellow instead of bright yellow.

An experimental blister pack packaging style is introduced for both tape formats mounted on card hanging boards.


Blister pack idea is deemed a failure and is scrapped.

Inlays are dropped in favour of 'cigarette box' style enclosures for the cassette.  Any details that would normally appear on the vinyl sleeve, such as recording credits and personnel, are printed on the back of the hanging board.

G & L


G & L


G & L


'Tombstone' label design is re-introduced (for the top label).


are the sole printers of this period.


Gold "Biggest Sound Around" top label is introduced.  Underside label font becomes Gill Sans for one month only, reverting to Univers in March.

1972  MAY


are the sole printers of this period.


begin printing All-Gold inlays in an unusual version of Univers, with no date codes.

Gold "Biggest Sound Around" style is extended to a full-wrap inlay.  Cartridges now come in solid clear plastic cases (like cassettes).  Cartridges themselves now only have one label, on the top.  These are now printed on black-and-white only and typeset in Gill Sans.


typeset their inlays in Univers.

G & L

typeset their inlays in Gill Sans.

G & L

remove the catalogue numbers from the front of inlays.  They continue to use Gill Sans as their standard font and a white top/background instead of gold.  Sometimes they use date codes, other times not.


same as G&L except using Univers on spine and inside.  A mixture of Univers and Compacta on the front for the title/artist.


All printers now include the international catalogue number (1E...) on the inlay spine.



stop printing inlays for EMI


continue to use Univers in preference to G&L's Gill Sans.

An "EMI 8-Track Stereo Cartridge" banner appears at the top of the front face of the inlays.

The "EMI 8-Track Stereo Cartridge" banner is moved to the bottom of the front face of the inlays.

G & L

continue as EMI's other main printer. They continue to use Gill Sans as their standard font.

1973  APRIL

International catalogue numbers in the UK have their prefix changed from "1E" to "0C".

Incidentally, in this month EMI introduce their circular logo with 'bleed-over' EMI lettering to co-incide with the launch of the then new "EMI" tan and red label.  This logo appears on the spine of some inlays, but not as standard.

1973  AUGUST

A wide-reaching change of format for EMI tapes to mark the introduction of Dolby B Noise Reduction.  A standard style across 8-tracks and musicassettes is introduced using a coloured top stripe and the circular EMI logo (front & side).


use Franklin Gothic Bold Condensed for album titles (the correct EMI corporate font for this purpose) and Univers for all other text.

G & L

however use Grotesque No.9 as the album title font (not EMI spec) and Venus for all other text.


Cassette labels are now printed on a white background.


use Franklin Gothic Bold Condensed for album titles (the correct EMI corporate font for this purpose) and Univers for all other text.

G & L

however use Grotesque No.9 as the album title font (not EMI spec) and Venus for all other text.


Solid plastic cases are dispensed with, to be replaced by the inlay being made fully-wrap around and the inlay and cartridge shrink-wrapped.  These however were filmsy and open-ended and were therefore awkward to handle and look after, being easily damaged.


At some point a couple of months later, floppy clear plastic wrappers are included to hold the inlay/cartridges when not in use, but these are similarly flimsy and also brittle, tearing easily.  They prove not to be a satisfactory solution.

1974  JULY

The inlays become thick, laminated card-based wrappers with tuck-in bottom flaps to prevent the cartridges sliding out, give better protection and to generally improve appearance and longevity.

The circular EMI logo is removed from inlay spines but retained on the front.  The DOLBY SYSTEM logo comes to rest at the bottom of the coloured stripe (it had previously appeared in various random positions on the front).


Inlays become "full height", using the whole front area for the sleeve graphics.  No reserved area is retained for title or branding information.

Cassettes no longer have labels, but copy information printed directly onto the cassette shells - initially with blue ink (until 1982).

8-track cartridge production ceases sometime in 1979.

Both printers now include the international catalogue number (1E...) on the inlay spine.

E & H

E & H

(to be determined)





EMI introduce "High Fidelity Tape Recordings" - 7.5 i.p.s. open reel twin-track mono tapes, recorded on Philips or BASF stock,


Introduction of "Stereosonic" range,

7.5 i.p.s. twin-track stereo tapes.

This was, until 1958, the only way to obtain stereo versions of EMI recordings.

In February EMI release their launch suite of 21 titles on 8-Track "Slot Stereo" as they then call them, cartridges.


These are manufactured by third-party University Recording Limited, to whom record dealers are directed to place their orders and from whom to expect delivery.