a nice site with a flash programme running.
In 1939, at the age of 23 graphic designer Alex Steinweiss was the first art director for Columbia Records, where he revolutinized the way records were packaged and marketed by inventing the concept of album covers and cover art; previously, recorded music was sold in plain, undecorated packaging out of plain cardboard and displayed only th title of the work and artist. "They were so drab, so unatractive," says Steinweiss, "I convinced the executives to let me design a few." For what he saw as 12-inch by 12-inch canvasses, he envisioned original works of art to project the beauty of the music inside. Surrealism as well as contemporary French and German posters, influenced Steinwiess' style. He established the foundation for what the genere of album covers would become. Steinweiss saw his album covers as visual representations of the music.
Steinweiss was active in record cover design from its inception in 1939 until 1973, when he semi-retired to devote himself to painting. By his own admission, he has designed roughly 2500 covers.
From 1939 to perhaps 1945, he designed all the covers for Columbia. During this period, he developed the entire graphic “language” of album cover design.
The second period is from 1945 to roughly 1950, during which he was no longer the sole designer for Columbia. He also began designing for other companies. This period is sometimes described as the “First Golden Age” of the album cover.
Steinweiss claims to have invented the LP cover, which first appeared in 1948.