ALEX STEINWEISS: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover
By Kevin Reagan
Published by Taschen
“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 (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 per cent.
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 Steiweiss’ 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.
About the series
Bibliotheca Universalis — Compact cultural companions celebrating the eclectic TASCHEN universe at an unbeatable, democratic price!
Since we started our work as cultural archaeologists in 1980, the name TASCHEN has become synonymous with accessible, open-minded publishing. Bibliotheca Universalis brings together nearly 100 of our all-time favorite titles in a neat new format so you can curate your own affordable library of art, anthropology, and aphrodisia.
Bookworm’s delight — never bore, always excite!