In 1940, a 23-year-old graphic designer named Alexander Steinweiss proposed that Columbia Records change its presentation and packaging of 78 RPM record albums. His idea: To use original artwork — drawings and paintings — on the front of the albums. This new approach meant a dramatic departure from gold or silver imprints of “just the nomenclature in a serif or gothic font on the black, brown or beige heavy books,” according to audiophile site Soundfountain.
While Steinweiss passed away this week at the age of 94, his influence remains powerful, even in the age of digital music. “When you look at your music collection today on your iPod, you are looking at Alex Steinweiss’s big idea,” design guru Paula Scher told The New York Times, which reported Steinweiss’ death today.
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