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"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 SteinweissAlex 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.

About the series

Bibliotheca Universalis - Compact cultural companions celebrating the eclectic TASCHEN universe!

 

Details

ISBN: 9783836557764
Series: Bibliotheca Universalis
Audience: General
Format: Hardback
Number of Pages: 552
Publication Date: 27 Aug 2015
Publisher: Taschen GmbH
Publication City, Country: Cologne, Germany
Dimensions (cm): 19.5(H) x 14(L)
Weight (gm): 1330

 

Reviews

"Alex Steinweiss is credited with singlehandedly creating the format, design and graphic 'language' of the album cover." * The Times *

 

Author Biography

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, 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. 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.
Alex Steinweiss. The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover
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