As a graphic designer, when looking at record covers is pretty obvious what the word cover means: an artwork that will give you the first hint on what you're about to listen. But obviously, it has never been like that. The vinyl cover was exactly what the word cover means: to protect something against loss, damage or accident.
It was while at Columbia Records in 1938 that Alex Steinweiss, as the art director suggested an artwork for every new music release of the company. They were brave enough to take the risk and give a try at Steinweiss' suggestion leading to an 800% increase in sales in that year.
When looking at older music collections, I can't help but notice, and question myself, why most of the Jazz albums have such a modernist approach where constructivism, Bauhaus or De Stijl influences are inescapable.
Nowadays it seems hard to make a new invention, but there was nothing new about what Steinweiss did back then if you think about a music poster.
They already existed, Steinweiss just asked himself: What if I put a poster on the cover of the vinyl?
In many situations we find ourselves dealing with impossible cases and most of the times we just need to reframe our problem and bring new questions to the table.
With great success and a huge worldwide impact, that was Steinweiss did.