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Music for the eyes - The man who launched the Golden Age of album cover design

Music for the eyes

The man who launched the Golden Age of album cover design

Alex Steinweiss. The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover

US$ 1,000
Multilingual Edition:
English, French, German
Availability: In Stock
No. 101-1,600, Collector’s Edition: Limited to 1,500 numbered copies, each signed by the artist. Also available in an Art Edition (No. 1-100), including a serigraph print.

"I love music so much and I had such ambition that I was willing to go way beyond what the hell they paid me for. I wanted people to look at the artwork and hear the music." —Alex Steinweiss

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. Less well known—but included here—are his posters for the U.S. Navy; packaging and label design for liquor companies; film title sequences; as well as his fine art. Includes essays by three-time Grammy Award-winning art director/designer Kevin Reagan and graphic design historian Steven Heller; Steinweiss’ personal recollections from an epic career; and extensive ephemera from the Steinweiss archive, most of it never before published.
  • “Columbia Masterworks was the name of the label that Steinweiss designed for numerous covers. And such is this book, a masterwork.”

    — Jazzpodium, Berlin