TASCHEN Alex Steinweiss. The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover, Art Edition


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 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, adverting 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. This Art Edition comes with an original signed seven-color serigraph print, The Firebird Suite, originally conceived as cover art for the 1957 Decca Records LP release of Igor Stravinsky's ballet of the same name.

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