Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream tells the story of Dorothy and Otis Shepard, two graphic designers who are little known, yet whose work is widely recognized. Dorothy and Otis lived the American dream their work came to represent in the middle of the twentieth century, the "Ozzie and Harriet" era. Working for Wrigley Chewing Gum, Catalina Island, the Chicago Cubs and others, they embody the best of modernist design. The lavish illustrations show us their work and the text describes the lives of this fascinating couple who created them. -- Alan D.   

— From March 2015


A lavish, gorgeously designed full-color collection that showcases the designs of Dorothy and Otis Shepard, two groundbreaking giants of early twentieth-century American advertising.

Dorothy and Otis Shepard are the unsung heroes of early twentieth-century North American visual culture. Together, they were the first American graphic designers to work in multiple mediums and scales with equal skill and vision, and their work remains brilliant; yet their names are little known today.

Dorothy and Otis chronicles their story in detail for the first time. It explores the Shepards’ penchant for abstraction and modernism, and shows how the advent of billboard advertising inspired their creativity—large campaigns that matched the grandeur of their lifestyle. Throughout, it demonstrates how their influence touched all aspects of consumer culture—from collaborating on the packaging for Wrigley’s Gum and designing uniforms and logos for the Chicago Cubs to planning and promoting the resort island Catalina, where Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Clark Gable, and other celebrities frequented.

Dorothy and Otis illuminates their personal lives as well, from their origins and early years to the eventual dissolution of their marriage. As it brings to life these pioneering artists and their momentous partnership, it elevates them to their rightful place in popular culture and makes clear how their legendary work reflected and exemplified the American Dream.

About the Author

Norman Hathaway is an art director and design historian focusing on underappreciated design personalities and techniques. He is the author of Overspray: Riding High with the Kings of California Airbrush Art and coauthor of Electrical Banana: Masters of Psychedelic Art, and has led creative initiatives for Outsider Art Fair's New York and Paris events, London's Design Museum and Royal Academy of Arts, and artists including Paul McCartney. He has also taught and lectured widely on the history of design and typography.

Dan Nadel is a writer and editor for art and visual culture publications, and an art curator. He is the author of Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969 and Art in Time: Unknown Comic Book Adventures, 1940-1980; the coauthor of Electrical Banana: Masters of Psychedelic Art; the editor of Gary Panter; the coeditor of the online version of The Comics Journal; and the curator of What Nerve!: Alternative Figures in American Art from 1960 to the Present at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. He is also the founder of PictureBox, a Grammy Award-winning publishing company.

Praise For…

“This book is well worth having for any Cubs fan, because it shows off in beautiful images a slice of the teams history, much of which has been forgotten in the modern era.”
— SB Nation

“...a fascinating tale...”
— Wall Street Journal

“...with its smart text and more than 300 vivid color images it’s a sweet treat for designers, illustrators, graphic historians, and pop culture enthusiasts in general.”
— Print Magazine Online

“...absorbing, moving, and lushly illustrated...”
— Paris Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062262424
ISBN-10: 0062262424
Publisher: Harper Design
Publication Date: November 4th, 2014
Pages: 256
Language: English