When I visit my local Goodwill, I usually head straight to the vinyl records section. I just gotta know what obscure album might be there or if today is the day I find that one album I’ve always been looking for. I’m also on the lookout for great design. Every once in a while I come across a cover design so strong, that it just stops me in my tracks. That’s how I discovered my first Command Records album.
Command produced records in the late ’50s to mid-’60s and were produced and engineered by Enoch Light, a pioneer in stereo recordings during a time when AM (monaural) radio was the standard. Many of the covers were designed by well-known artists/designers like Josef Albers and Paul Bacon. Josef Albers! These abstract, minimalist covers stood apart from the typical covers of the time and beautifully captured the essence of the music through expressive design and well-crafted compositions. The covers gave the listener an idea of what to expect — a crisp, modern, stereo sound that’s harmonious, but with a sense of playfulness. Most of the Command Records covers incorporated classic design principles brilliantly: balance, proportion, rhythm, emphasis and unity in a modern style that still looks fresh today.