Graphic artist Lou Dorfsman, who helped mold the image of CBS, died Oct. 22. He was 90.
Dorfsman started as a staff designer for the CBS Radio Network in 1946 and rose through the ranks to become design director for the entire company, a job he held until 1987.
“Lou was a giant in his field, and an integral piece of CBS’s history, legacy and success,” said Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. “There are few designers who could match the artistry and intelligence in Lou’s work, or his instincts, which helped build the CBS brand, recognized across the globe, and led to some of television’s most effective marketing campaigns.”
Dorfsman worked on campaigns for CBS including print ads specials such as the report “Of Black America,” which showcased a black and white image of an African-American man with half his face painted in stars and stripes of the United States flag, as well as with the memorable slogans like “Jackie of All Trades” for a Jackie Gleason special, and a print ad for the CBS series “The Waltons” with the headline “Save the Waltons,” which was credited with bringing new attention to the series.
During this time Dorfsman also designed the set of “The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite,” as well as the floor set for CBS’s political convention coverage and graphic placement throughout its iconic Black Rock headquarters. He also implemented a custom-made typeface for all CBS graphic design called CBS Didot, which is still used today.
He was especially proud of his wall mural in the CBS employee cafeteria that spelled out 235 gastronomical words in wood, including foods, cooking utensils and quotes about food. The wall, which he titled “Gastrotypographicalassemblage,” is currently being restored.
Dorfsman was born in Manhattan and grew up in the Bronx, graduating in 1939 from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Before serving in WWII, he built displays for the 1939 World’s Fair and also served as an art director for the Reiss Advertising Agency.
In 1959 Dorfsman moved over to the television side, moving from creative director to VP corporate adversiting and design. He retired in 1987 after 41 years with CBS and later became creative director of the Museum of Broadcasting.
His art was published in the 1987 book “Dorfsman & CBS,” and his designs have been exhibited all around the world, including in Japan, Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Israel.
Dorfsman is survived by his wife, Ann, two sons, a daughter and a grandchild.