The fabulous Alex Steinweiss

Alex Steinweiss was the man who basically invented the album cover. Before him, record sets were sold in book-like albums with brown paper interior sleeves containing multiple records, and the covers were simply plain, like the old photo albums or scrapbooks.  

Steinweiss convinced his bosses at Columbia records to invest in the equipment to print on these covers. They started with generic covers that would leave a space for the album titles, and then gradually each album would have it's own conceptual design, as we know it today.

For more covers and info, visit Poul Webb's blog here.

This is an example of one of Steinweiss's early generic covers, used for symphonic works, the title would be inserted in the white box.

Wilhelm Furtwangler conducts Schumann & Haydn. mid 1950s

Paul Hindemith "Die Harmonie Der Welt" mid 1950s

Paul Hindemith "Die Harmonie Der Welt" mid 1950s

I love this Boswell Sisters cover from 1942, as I love the Boswell Sisters themselves, but we'll talk about that later!

Boogie Woogie set 1942

Boogie Woogie set 1942

Morton Gould and His Orchestra 1951

Otl Aicher

Aka Otto Aicher (1922 – 1991)  was a German graphic designer best known for creating the stick figures that we see in use on modern international signage (think restroom man & woman symbols) for the 1972 Munich Olympics. He also created the Rotis font family. I believe these are record album covers from around 1950.