Robert L. Peters

27 October 2008

Encomium | Lou Dorfsman


Roslyn, New York

The legendary Lou Dorfsman died last Wednesday at the age of 90. From Saturday’s obit in The New York Times: “Mr. Dorfsman’s work became a model for corporate communications, in the marketing discipline now called branding. In 1946, when he joined CBS as art director for its successful radio networks, the company was already a leader in both advertising and the relatively new field of corporate identity. Frank Stanton, then CBS’s president, understood the business value of sophisticated design and had earlier hired William Golden as the overall art director; in 1951 Golden designed the emblematic CBS eye, among the most identifiable logos in the world. Mr. Dorfsman not only extended Golden’s aesthetic by combining conceptual clarity and provocative visual presentation, but developed his own signature style of graphic design.”

I felt honoured to have met Lou in New York in 1984 (on the occasion of Leo Lionni being granted the AIGA medal, six years after Dorfsman had been awarded the same honour). Mr. Dorfsman’s work has inspired an entire generation of designers—here’s to your legacy Lou. Read about “the wall that Lou built” on Speak Up here.

“Creativity is essentially a lonely art. An even lonelier struggle. To some a blessing. To others a curse. It is in reality the ability to reach inside yourself and drag forth from your very soul an idea.”

—Lou Dorfsman, 1918-2008

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