The early releases from TICO records during the mid 50’s have some of the greats of latin music, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez and Joe Loco are among the stellar line-up put together by George Goldner at the label. TICO records has been acclaimed as one of the finest Latin music labels.
There is however, another unsung hero associated with the label, who had an influential output which is hardly ever spoken of and little celebrated. This star is called Sandoval and worked for a graphic design company in New York called Lee-Myles Associates.
The firm is still going today but Sandoval (first name unknown) seems to have faded into the mists of time.
Sandoval’s graphics are hugely evocative of their time, part of the post war boom that happened in graphics and advertising in America and especially New York. They have vision and vibrancy. There’s humour there too, and a lightness of touch which makes them great fun to look at.
The viewpoints are interesting too… Often sexually charged, the images are unabashed and proud of their sexuality which is at times smokingly sultry, at times bawdy or brashly thrusting.
The design is simple and modern with great typography counterpointed against vibrant celebratory, highly expressive artwork and photography.
The visual identity of the label is stamped firmly by the graphics of these early TICO releases. They tell the story of how latinos in New York and across the United States, had found a visual and musical identity all their own.
Mambos, Cha Cha Cha’s Rumbas and Merengues were sweeping the United States by storm. Dancehalls like the New York’s Palladium Ballroom and Hollywood’s Million Dollar Theatre were focal points for these new dance crazes. It was a democratic music too, neither wealth nor high social status were prerequisites. All that was needed was a desire to dance to the latest, hottest mambos.