This month sees the release of Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album CoverTaschen’s LP-sized retrospective of work from the originator of album cover art. 

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 percent.

A favorite is Gershwin’s “Concerto in F,” on which graphic designer Steve Heller comments:

"This is one of Steinweiss’s most symbolically eloquent and graphically exquisite works. The thin, condensed typography echoes the light coming through the building windows. The color of the city is not in the skyscrapers but on the street, where the tenements meet the El."

- Maggie