Alex Steinweiss, Originator of Artistic Album Covers, Dies at 94 (from NY Times)

The record cover was a blank slate in 1939, when Mr. Steinweiss was hired to design advertisements for Columbia Records. Most albums were unadorned, and on those occasions when art was used, it was not original. (Albums then were booklike packages containing multiple 78 r.p.m. discs.)

“The way records were sold was ridiculous,” Mr. Steinweiss said in a 1990 interview. “The covers were brown, tan or green paper. They were not attractive, and lacked sales appeal.” Despite concern about the added costs, he was given the approval to come up with original cover designs.’

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/business/media/alex-steinweiss-originator-of-artistic-album-covers-dies-at-94.html?ref=todayspaper”

He actually invented the cardboard LP sleeve, and got the patent, but had to give up his rights to his employer, Columbia Records.

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One response to “Alex Steinweiss, Originator of Artistic Album Covers, Dies at 94 (from NY Times)

  1. Jordan C.

    Not to take anything away from the late Mr. Steinweiss, as anyone who is even tangentially familiar with his work cannot but marvel at his skills, but I don’t believe he INVENTED the illustrative record sleeve. What he should have said was “The way records were sold AT COLUMBIA was ridiculous”. Other labels, not the least of which was Decca, already had a significant commitment to illustrating their sleeves well before 1939.

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