Alex Steinweiss. The Inventor of the Modern Album CoverHardcover, 5.5 x 7.7 in., 2.93 lb, 552 pages25
Alex Steinweiss. The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover25
Music for the Eyes
The inventor of album art
Alex Steinweiss (1917–2011) invented the album cover as we know it. 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 percent.
Over the next 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. His daring designs, gathered here in all their bright combinations of bold typography with modern, elegant illustration, revolutionized the way music was sold.
The book includes Steinweiss’s personal recollections and ephemera from an epic career, as well as insightful essays by three-time Grammy Award–winning art director/designer Kevin Reagan and graphic design historian Steven Heller.
The father of record design is Alex Steinweiss, who in 1940, at the age of 23, single-handedly invented the album cover. He made thousands of classical, jazz, and pop covers for Columbia, London, Decca, and Everest; and his modern designs graced the packaging, logos, and covers of dozens of distilleries, film studios, and magazines; earning him an AIGA Medal and the Art Directors Hall of Fame lifetime achievement award.
Kevin Reagan is a triple Grammy Award–winning art director, also honored by 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 has produced over 200 books on visual communication and published countless articles in international design magazines. Currently he is cofounder and cochair of the MFA Design program at the School of Visual Arts, New York.