album cover

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A Serving of Dish
In July 2016, Town and Country magazine published an article called “Why Pink and Green is the Best Color Combination Ever.” One look at the design for the 1989 single released by North Carolina rock band Dish, and it’s clear that graphic designer Maura Dillon was thinking the same thing nearly 30 years before. The...
Sound Off!
Alvin Lustig was one of the most influential graphic designers of mid-20th century America, despite the unfortunate brevity of his career. Well-known for his designs of books, book jackets, and magazines, Lustig also designed several record jackets for albums of classical and concert band music. Four such albums bearing Lustig’s design are featured in Cooper Hewitt’s...
Rhythm of the City
Graphic designer Paula Scher adapted Piet Mondrian’s 1943 painting Broadway Boogie-Woogie when she created the graphic identity for Manhattan Records in 1984. On each LP that Manhattan Records released, the design is printed on the center label of sides A and B. When reflecting on her decision to turn to Mondrian, Scher explained “the strongest...
Speaking in Tongues
Graphic designer Tibor Kalman made a circle of blue the visual centerpiece of Talking Heads’ 1983 release Speaking in Tongues. The circle is seven inches in diameter, just like a 45 record. But while the graphic might evoke the standard format of singles from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, it was actually inspired by the...
Only in America
An altered photograph of a roadside motel is printed on a cardboard sleeve for R.E.M.’s 7-inch single “Only in America,” designed by Bruce and Karen Licher. The image of the motel is grainy, which complements the speckled cardboard on which it was printed. Although the grain makes it harder to read the motel sign, the...
A Funky Front Cover
A man in a tuxedo holds a white fedora hat in this Defunkt album cover designed by Tibor Kalman. As in some of his other album designs, Kalman chose to alter the band’s name through reverse lettering. Printed in multicolor, the text is especially striking printed atop the black and white photograph. When reflecting on...