The earliest album on this gallery, A Tribute To Dancers Vol 2 (V/Artists / Polydor 46 005 : 1956), from no later than January, has a sleeve made of a single sheet of card, folded and machine stitched up either side to form the envelope, a technique also seen on many early Deutsche Grammophon releases. Polydor sleeves then quickly moved to the more standard glued card sleeve. They also adopted a standard generic look for the rest of the 1950s, shown here on Hand In Hand Through Danube Land (Hans Carste & Orchestra / Polydor 237 501 : 1960) (with a typically clean cut German couple on the front); a 2″ red panel at the top carried titles and logo, with a colour photograph below, printed via letterpress.
This house style stayed until early 1960 when the design was tweaked. White 1″ panels top and bottom now carried the text with a colour photograph forming the central part of the design. The distinctive red and black Polydor logo was prominently placed in the top corner. The Africana sleeve (Horst Wende & Orchestra / Polydor 46 336 : 1960) here is one of the first styled this way (images of exotic travel destinations were a popular cover motif). Older releases with the red panel remained in print for some time.
As well as photographs, abstract illustrations were also used on a number of covers, the Happy Piano album (Crazy Otto / Polydor 46 053 : 195-) done by a designer who has clearly been looking at Jackson Pollack, is one of the more extreme. The last albums in this second early Polydor house style I have seen are dated 1966 (the sophisticated image on Tanz In Der Tavern – Roberto Delgado Orchestra / Polydor 237 348 : 1966 – is an example), by which times more individual designs were being called for as Polydor begun to successfully compete in the pop arena (having signed the early Beatles in 1962). The sleeves were still being printed by letterpress at this date.
Polydor also made use of the orchestra leaders a lot, the Zacharias sleeve (The Best of Everything / Zacharias & his Magic Violins / Polydor 46 346: 1961) is typical, with a very modern looking grid pattern into which the photographs are laid. The film strip edges reinforce the fact that the music is all taken from film theme tunes.