Monday, April 14, 2008

Vinyl Gallery: Vintage classical album cover graphics (flickr link)

- Please follow this link to my flickr gallery of vintage graphics from 70 classical album covers!

Recently I posted several images of LP covers, and at one point I mentioned Alex Steinweiss, the pioneering graphic designer who first had the idea of 'album cover art'.

Prior to his efforts for Columbia Records beginning in 1939, the covers to multi-disc 78-rpm 'album' sets of records were fairly generic - - often referred to as 'tombstone' covers, a featureless square with just a plain square label of text.

Steinweiss' ideas and the bold visual language he created soon caught on, the idea became the norm, and eventually the sky was the limit for the manner in which the cover image on a record could be used to represent the music within.

The gallery of cover images that I've posted at flickr are mostly from the 1940's and 50's, and all are from albums that are some flavor of classical music or classical vocal.

I love the broad strokes and bold colors, the manner in which the artists work with the economy of the printing style available to them, and how that all changes over time.

There are several examples of Steinweiss work in the genre - - which are always fun to see - - but I suppose at this point I get more excited by the examples of other designers working in the field; often under-represented, with innovations of their own.

Certainly some of them are Steinweiss imitators, but given the context of the era, let's just call them 'followers, fellows, and the next wave'.

- Please follow this link to my flickr gallery of vintage graphics from 70 classical album covers!

One note: I'm an enthusiast, I'm not an expert.
I'm excited to share these images for the enjoyment of the graphics, and share what little information I have.

PLEASE feel free to share your own information regarding any of the cover art designers, the musical performances and performers, your own memories / experiences with these records and what it is that makes them special.



The In Crowd said...

Thanks to Pete, for his book recommendation...

"There's a good Steinweiss book out with lots of reprints of covers in it, that can be had for cheap..."

'For the Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss'

... Yep, agreed. Great book!

The In Crowd said...

For more classical album art in a similar vein, letslookupandsmile would like to direct you to another flickr set: 'The World of Light Classical Music Record Group'

Freshly-stirred links