May 31, 2011

Alex Steinweiss, The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover

Taschen recently released a book written about the successful career of Alex Steinweiss. Mr. Steinweiss was the inventor of the album cover. His design work was bold and modern, and he singlehandedly changed the way musicians expressed themselves both visually and acoustically.

The following is an excerpt from the publisher describing the work, author and influences.

“Alex Steinweiss invented the album cover as we know it, and created a new graphic art form. In 1940, as Columbia Records’ young new art director, he pitched an idea: Why not replace the standard plain brown wrapper with an eye-catching illustration? The company took a chance, and within months its record sales increased by over 800 per cent. His covers for Columbia—combining bold typography with modern, elegant illustrations—took the industry by storm and revolutionized the way records were sold. Over three decades, Steinweiss made thousands of original artworks for classical, jazz, and popular record covers for Columbia, Decca, London, and Everest; as well as logos, labels, advertising material, even his own typeface, the Steinweiss Scrawl. He launched the golden age of album cover design and influenced generations of designers to follow.

The authors:

Kevin Reagan is a triple Grammy Award-winning art director, also honored by the AIGA, Print, and Communication Arts. As former art director of Geffen, MCA, and Maverick, he designed packages for Madonna, Beck, Sonic Youth and many others. He lives in Los Angeles.

Steven Heller, co-chair of the School of Visual Arts MFA Designer as Author Program, writes the “Visuals” column for the New York Times Book Review, and is the author of 120 books on design, illustration, and satiric art.

To preview the book visit the publishers website,  Taschen.






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