Through the years of collecting and working with vinyl, I've always been enchanted with attractive, forward-thinking album artwork and design. I can still say that to this day I will still buy a record because of its stunning artwork, without regard for the content. These records are wonderfully tactile, touchable things with graphic design that stands out, screams out to be held and admired, displayed or even framed, in addition to being nurtured in one's carefully curated collection.
In 2012, Amoeba bought a record collection in New York (it's here) that contained some absolute gems of 1950's record cover design on 10-inch Long Play (LP) discs.. I stashed some of the most interesting designs as I went through the collection for us to peruse here. Conceived shortly after the 7-inch Extra Play (EP) era, these covers virtually attack one's visual senses, created in such a way by these labels as to literally command a person to pick the thing up! Imagine a record store back then displaying these gems next to a rather austere Perry Como record!
Never have I encountered more captivating packaging than these 10-inch "Long Players" from eastern Europe, mostly on the Supraphon (Czech) or Melodiya (Russia) labels. The paper quality feels absolutely sublime on the fingers, and some of these covers are actually stitched together! Just holding these records sends me back in time to my Czech brothers-in-music! These are true mid-century iconic designs.