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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > William P. Gottlieb

[Detail] Louis Armstrong, Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y., ca. Apr. 1947

Graphic Design

William Gottlieb's photographs have been used by graphic designers to create various kinds of visuals, including covers for the magazine Down Beat, stamps, album covers, and more. A number of Down Beat covers are included in the collection; they are accessible from the list of Down Beat Magazine Articles.

Examine the five covers listed below and develop a detailed description of the overall design of the covers. For example, identify all the elements of the covers and describe how they are arranged. Look at how color and typography are used. Try to find common traits among the photographs used. Consider differences among the covers.

  • "Double-header on the Cover," Down Beat 13, no. 9 (Apr. 22, 1946)
  • "Buddy Morrow on the Cover," Down Beat 13, no. 19 (Sept. 9, 1946)
  • "Joe Mooney on the Cover," Down Beat 13, no. 21 (Oct. 7, 1946)
  • "Duke & Group on the Cover," Down Beat 13, no. 23 (Nov. 4, 1946)
  • "Spring Maids on the Cover," Down Beat 14, no. 8 (Apr. 9, 1947)

Based on the description you have developed, create a design for a Down Beat cover. The theme of the issue, to be published in late 1948, is "New Jazz Sounds." What photograph would you choose to use on the cover? Explain your choice.

Gottlieb's photographs were also used as source materials for four U.S. postage stamps honoring jazz greats. Analyze these stamps using the same process you used in looking at the covers. Based on your design description, sketch stamps honoring Duke Ellington and Thelonius Monk. What photographs would you choose to serve as the basis for the stamps? Explain your choices.