Appreciation: March 2015 Archives

Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream

Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream

On Tuesday, March 3, Dorothy and Otis authors Norman Hathaway and Dan Nadel will present a free illustrated lecture at the New York Public Library on 42nd Street. Don't miss this rare look at the amazingly talented illustrator/designer team of Dorothy and Otis Shepard.

Dorothy and Otis Shepard were groundbreaking modernist graphic designers and illustrators, whose work, particularly in the 1930s and 40s, but also well into the 1960s, helped define the look of American billboards, advertisements, sports teams, and much more. Norman Hathaway and Dan Nadel have compiled Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream, an astonishing visual life of this husband and wife team, thanks to a treasure trove of photographs, artwork, sketches, and diaries compiled by Dorothy before her death in 2000 and passed along by her son and granddaughter. Hathaway is an accomplished illustrator and art director in his own right (I've worked with him on many projects over the years), and he brings that multi-disciplinary approach to compiling this book.

Dorothy and Otis is rich in both visuals and biographical detail. The Shepards, singularly and together, designed and illustrated a series of billboards for Wrigley's chewing gum in the 1930s and 40s. Otis Shepard later became the defacto creative director for the Chicago Cubs baseball team (they were owned by Wrigley), designing program covers, logos, and even uniforms. His cover illustrations for the Cubs programs and yearbooks are probably his most well-known work, striking graphically modern images that pop off the pages.

(Above): Chicago Cubs program designed and illustrated by Otis Shepard, 1953

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