I find it so hard to believe that these covers are 50+ years old. Some of them look downright modern. The following six covers were chosen by David Day who own Jive Time Records in Seattle, WA. He also runs an amazing blog called Project Thirty-Three which is worth a bookmark. If you ever get onto Who Wants to be A Millionaire and a music related question comes up make sure you have David Days number handy!

My fav is this complex mess of shapes for Symphony No. 4 (Columbia Masterworks from 1965) seen above. It reminds me of all the Flash Actionscript experiments I did in 1999.

You’d expect all the covers to look like this…

Bland, uninspired and fitting right in with the hundreds of others out there. An archive page like this shows you just how rare a design like this is. These covers would have stood out by a mile. I wonder if this was a good thing?

Here is the opening paragraph from David’s site;

The seemingly infinite number of vintage record jackets that convey their message with simple shapes like circles and dots never cease to amaze and amuse me. Project Thirty-Three is my personal collection and shrine to these expressive shapes along with their slightly less jovial but equally effective cousins; squares, rectangles and triangles, and the designers that make them come to life on album covers. Other categories include arrows, abstract shapes and typography-only.

David’s picks:

Two Pianos & Twenty Voices (Command, 1960)

Designed by Charles C. Murphy the artistic director of Command Records.

Provocative Percussion, Volume 3 (Command, 1961)

Designed by Charles C. Murphy

Sizzling Strings (Directional Sound)

Designed by Sam Suliman. Read some posts on him here.

Dynamic Twin Pianos (Ultra Audio)

Designed by Emmet McBain which if I am connecting the dots correctly via this post went on to have a very successful career in advertising even founding his own agency. He was a Mad Man! That’s a guess buy going from a designer to a ad guy isn’t that far of a stretch.

Persuasive Percussion Vol. 2 (Command, 1959)

Designer: Barbara Jean Brown. Who I’m guessing is the fabric designer Barbara Brown? See a post on her work here. Or a Google image search reveals more.

You have to wonder if the limited budgets of that time dictated the designs or if it was “just the style baby”?

I researched these covers a little but found very little information on the designers, which makes sense as they would not have had blogs or social pages back in the 60s. If anyone has any more info on the designers or this genre of cover please comment below.

There is very little written about these covers online. And I’m confused why they haven’t been subject of a book or study in the design field.

Further Reading
Check out his other sites all of which lead me to believe David is a robot! Where does he find the time?!

Vintage LP stereo banners stacked! So awesome! I want this was wrapping paper!
Groove is in the Art:
Illustrated covers. Yes I will be stealing from here regularly.
Symphonie Fantastique:
Another amazing gallery of covers for classical music.

Check out Aqua Velvet who has some more fantastic examples of mid century album covers that still stand up today. Check out these other posts to get your 1950′s sleeve fix.