Vinyl Gallery: Vintage classical album cover graphics
It was the pioneering graphic designer
Alex Steinweiss, 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, with just a plain square label with 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 images in this gallery 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'.

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.


- For more album art in a similar vein here on flickr, follow the link to letslookupandsmile's
'The World of Light Classical Music Record Group'

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