The art adorning the 12” x 12” canvas of an LP symbolizes everything that’s right in the format’s stature as an art form in its own right that was almost became lost in the digital age, and is now cherished with the record industry’s rebirth.
In 1939, 23-year-old Alex Steinweiss convinced his bosses at Columbia Records to ditch the burlap-covered “tombstone” portfolios that contained the fragile shellac 78s, and replace them with an original design. Sales jumped a whopping 892%. Mr. Steinweiss designed more than 1,000 covers. Columbia’s first art director, he invented for the label in 1947 a paperboard jacket still in use today.
In 2003, the ‘Alex Awards’ was launched to pay tribute to his accomplishments and the best contemporary entertainment packaging. Then 86, Mr. Steinweiss accepted a lifetime achievement award at the inaugural gala in Los Angeles; he died in 2011. The awards, on hiatus since 2006, return at the ‘Making Vinyl’ conference in Detroit on Nov. 6, 2017. Entries must be received by Sept. 30, 2017.
Returning to host the Alex Awards ceremony is Grammy Award packaging winner Craig Braun, who responsible for executing such iconic vinyl packages as the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, The Velvet Underground & Nico, and Alice Cooper’s School’s Out. Mr. Braun has been a professional actor with numerous credits in film, television and theater over the past 20 years.
FAQs about the Alex Awards
Q: When and where will the Alex Awards be presented?
A: Nov. 6, 7:00 pm at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit. A cocktail party will precede the ceremony.
Q: How much does it cost to attend the Alex Awards ceremony?
A: $25 per person (but free to Making Vinyl conference attendees)
Q: How are the awards judged?
A: A panel of professional, award-winning art directors will review submissions for their overall aesthetic value.
Q: How much does it cost to enter the awards?
A: $35 for the first entry, $25 for each of the next 2-5 additional entries from the submitter (e.g., label, packager, manufacturer, distributor, artist, etc.), $15 for each of the 6 or more entries in other categories.
Q: How can I pay for an entry?
A: By credit card, PayPal or check made out to Colonial Purchasing Co-Op LLC, 9789 Charlotte Hwy, Ste 400, Fort Mill, SC 29707 (Colonial HQ Tel: +1 747 777 2081)
Q: When must have an entry been released to be eligible for consideration?
A: Oct. 1, 2016 – Sept. 30, 2017.
Q: When, where and how many copies of an entry should be mailed?
A: Two copies of each entry must be physically mailed to Making Vinyl, Att: Larry Jaffee, P.O. Box 271, Kings Park, NY 11754 and received before Sept. 30, 2017. No exceptions.
Q: When will the winners be notified?
A: At least a month before the Alex Awards ceremony on Nov. 6.
Q: Who will get recognized among the winners?
A: We realize that many individuals are involved in creating a record package. Therefore, on the entry form we leave it to the submitter to acknowledge all parties who participated in the conception and execution, and those winners will receive Alex Awards certificates.
Q: Who is Alex Steinweiss and why is there an award named after him?
A: Alex was the creator of the first commercially intended album cover for Columbia Records in 1939. He’s widely regarded as the father of the modern entertainment packaging industry. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the first Alex Awards ceremony in 2003; he died in 2011.
Q: What should I do if I have additional questions about the Alex Awards?
A: Email Larry Jaffee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 917-291-2488