Alex Steinweiss was an art director at Columbia Records in the late 1930s when he began creating album sleeves featuring original artwork printed in bright colors—a dramatic departure from the staid record packaging of the day. “I didn’t like album covers in those days…they had no decoration, no nothin’. I thought, how the hell can you sell beautiful music with this crap?” The single jacket design he initially patented quickly became an industry standard. Steinweiss used the services of New York film-lettering company Photo-Lettering Inc. in the creation of his cover artwork for years before founder, Ed Rondthaler, finally invited Steinweiss to create an alphabet for PLINC. Steinweiss later designed Photo-Lettering’s logo and first large-format color catalog. In addition to designing over 800 album covers for six companies during his illustrious career in the record industry, Steinweiss found success as a graphic designer and painter. Generations have Alex Steinweiss to thank for his contribution to design, music and pop culture.
Posted by Ken Barber on February 8, 2006