About a week ago I was very saddened to hear about the passing away of Lou Dorfsman. While Lou didn’t design the famous CBS eye (that was William Golden) from the 60s until the 80s he put the tiffany in the tiffany network. The CBS of today is but a shadow of what it was during that era, but back then it was one of three corporations that dominated American media and Lou gave them their signature look.
In my last year of art school my father purchased a copy of the book Dorfsman & CBS for me which showcased the entire career of Lou Dorfsman and it inspires me to this day. The first thing that you’ll notice is that most of what Lou does is in fact print design, and while he did do his share of animated titles and set designs it’s the medium at which he excelled. What I love about his work is that it’s not just about pretty pictures, but about using words and typography in clever ways to communicate his message. The other thing to keep in mind that as a creative director Lou was a manager, so what you’re seeing here is the word of many other talented people including typographers, photographers, illustrators and even printers.
The first time I viewed this ad was in a course on the history of graphic design, and I was blown away! It’s a newspaper ad from 1962 showcasing the CBS News coverage of the John Glenn space flight. What makes it brilliant is that Dorfsman has taken the graphic convention of the american flag and by turning it 90 degrees and adding a rocket made it represent the hopes and aspirations of the space program. Simply put this is conceptual graphic design at its best.