Alex Steinweiss

Alex Steinweiss

The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover

By Steven Heller; Kevin Reagan (Editor)

Taschen, Hardcover, 9783836501927, 422pp.

Publication Date: September 2009


No. 101-1,600: Limited to 1,500 numbered copies, each signed by the artist. Also available in an Art Edition (No. 1-100), including a serigraph print.
""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 invented the album cover as we know it, and created a new graphic art form. 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%. 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 an essay by design historian Steven Heller; Steinweiss personal recollections from an epic career; and extensive ephemera from the Steinweiss archive, most of it never before published.

About the Author
Steven Heller is the art director of the NY Times Book Review and co-chair of the MFA Design program at the School of Visual Arts. He is the editor of the AIGA online journal, VOICE. He is a contributing editor to PRINT, EYE, Baseline, and ID. He writes frequently for Metropolis and other design magazines. He is author, co-author, and editor of over 90 books on design and popular culture.

Kevin Reagan is a triple Grammy Award-winning art director, also honored by the 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.