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steinweissGraphic design is a many faceted field, I particularly like the graphic design applied to vinyl record album covers.

A good read, an older text with mostly reproductions of covers is Phonographics, Contemporary Album Cover Art and Design, written by Brad Benedict & Linda Barton (1977 Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co.New York).

Poster Art is a much related field to the album cover art. Some of the record album designers also designed posters, especially in the 50’s through the 70’s. A very good book on that subject matter is Images of an Era, the American Poster 1945-1975. This book which has a reproduction of an Andy Warhol designed poster (below, a ticket for the fifth New York Film Festival held at the Lincoln Center) on the front and rear cover.

warhol poster multiplesThe book was produced as a traveling exhibition catalog by the National Gallery of Fine Arts/ Smithsonian Institute in 1975. With 20 pages of text and 257 posters reproduced, full page size, plus artist index and bibliography, it is a seminal work on posters of the era.

 Record album cover design was invented single handed by the designer Alex Steinweiss (1917-2011) in the 1940’s. His style is very distinctive and I particularly like the 1953 signed album cover shown (top photo). I found out that you can actually hear this very nice piece of music “Caucasian Sketches“.

Many very famous artists like Salvador Dali (below) either produced art for covers(1955) or allowed their art to be reproduced.

dalidali rearGraphic designers like Saul Bass (1960) and Milton Glaser (1963) also produced signed covers in a very distinctive style (see below).

bass frontbass rear Even artists like the Bauhaus teacher Josef Albers also produced cover art. But a real prize piece is the cover “Our Paris” with a 1954 photo by the French photographer Robert Doisneau (shown below). Incidentally, the copyright to the photo is owned by the American Douglas Aircraft Company. Who knows why? By the mid to late fifties, photographs on covers became the leading cover style.

doisneau copyrightdoisneau