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Alex Steinweiss. The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover

Edition of 1,500
Hardcover in slipcase, 15.6 x 13 in., 12.78 lb, 422 pages
US$ 1,000
Multilingual Edition:
English, French, German
Availability: In Stock
Art director Alex Steinweiss first created album cover art in 1940 and with it a new art form which would evolve to be as intrinsic a part of pop culture as the music itself. This Collector’s Edition showcases his unique combination of bold typography and elegant illustration which took the industry by storm and revolutionized the way records were sold.

Limited Collector’s Edition of 1,500 copies

Music for the Eyes

The man who launched the Golden Age of album cover design
Alex Steinweiss invented the album cover as we know it, and created a new graphic art form. In 1940, as Columbia Records’ new young 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. 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’s personal recollections from an epic career; and extensive ephemera from the Steinweiss archive, most of it never before published.
The artist

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.

The authors

Steven Heller, co-chair of the School of Visual Arts MFA Design / Designer as Entrepreneur program, writes “The Daily Heller” for printmag.com and is author or editor of more than 190 books on graphic design, editorial illustration, and political art.

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.

Alex Steinweiss. The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover
Edition of 1,500
Hardcover in slipcase, 15.6 x 13 in., 12.78 lb, 422 pages
ISBN 978-3-8365-0192-7
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
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Alex Steinweiss. The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover (Limited Edition)
Alex Steinweiss.
The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover
Edition of 1,500
US$ 1,000
Alex Steinweiss. The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover (Limited Edition)