March 1, 2011

Otis Shepard - Cubs Scorecard Art

Several years ago, while snapping up Red Sox programs from the late 70s on eBay, I discovered the wonderful artwork of Otis Shepard.

Shepard was an illustrator who worked for William Wrigley, Jr., and was the art director of Wrigley's Gum for more than 30 years.
Wrigley bought the Chicago Cubs in 1925, and Shepard would later create the artwork for many Cubs scorecards from the late 1930s to the early 1960s. (There is not much biographical information on Shepard out there, but it appears that he also collaborated with infielder Ann Harnett to design baseball uniforms for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.)

My ignorance about illustrations and art in general precludes me from saying much about Shepard's work. I simply love it. Here are some examples:



Zenslinger said...

I share your enthusiasm. Someone else can do better, I'm sure, but I can see the influences of Matisse, Pop Art, and the kind of Socialist influence (not sure what it's called) that influenced the Obama "Hope" image.

FenFan said...

Wow, 10 cents, 15 cents for a program? Mind-boggling! :)

andy said...

Wow those make me happy also. Love that last one especially

Joy it is

johngoldfine said...

I found this poking around--seems appropriate for spring training. The picture is near the bottom:

allan said...

The 1955 picture is my new favourite -- and I found it only this morning while looking for a few more examples. It would make a great poster.

More Cubs scorecards from the last 100+ years here.

allan said...

The cover of this 2002 scorecard notes that Shepard was the designer from 1948-1962.

(Also looks like they tried to mimic his designs somewhat through the 70s.)

Jere said...

Nice combined shutout today. Mayor's Cup momentum back on our side.

laura k said...

Oh! I love this! I especially like 1950 and 1966, but I really dig the whole style.

As Zen mentioned, I also see the socialist propaganda influence (here's an example) and I catch the touch of Matisse (one of my favourite artists) too.

Thanks for posting.

Dr. Jeff said...

This style reminds me of This concert poster

Jim Wynne said...

I have Cubs scorecards dating from 1947 through the 80s. The 1947 scorecard, which is in a smaller format (9"x6")than the ones that followed has the initials "O.S." in the lower right corner of the cover. Starting the following year, the format changed to 8.5 x 11 and the name "Shepard" appeared on the upper left corner of the back cover. It remained there all the way through 1971. From 1972 through 1981 (the last year of Wrigley ownership) the general format of the program didn't change, but the "Shepard" credit was gone.

It appears that the 2002 cover that Allan linked to is wrong; Shepard's initials appear on the 1947 scorecard and he's credited from then all the way through 1971.

Michael Holloway said...

Hey Allan, check out this link. You're piece on Otis Shepard is linked in with-in a profile of William Wrigley. It looks like an aggregator algorithm - but you're on it's list. :)

Michael Holloway said...

Here's a blogger screen shot I made in case it's gone away.

norman said...

Style is known as 'modernist'. Shepard was deeply influenced by the Austrian designer Joseph Binder.

Shepard was the art director for Wrigley, thus designed many projects for baseball aside from the Cubs programs - uniforms, caps, Cubs logo, scoreboard, concession stands, uniforms and insignia for the All American Girls league, MLB insignia etc.

Programs were created from the 1930s until the 1960s.

Baseball was just one facet of this masterful designer's career, which is why I'm currently toiling away on putting a book together about the great man.

allan said...

Shepard was deeply influenced by the Austrian designer Joseph Binder.

Did an image search for Binder. Wow, you're not kidding!

Michael Holloway said...

After norman posted a bit at my blog on Shepard I was able to get much further in my research - but I fear I went too far in casting him as a manager of artists, rather than someone who spent a lot of time with the artists tools. This further outline by norman here makes me more sure of my excess in that.

I'm looking into the whole Art Directors thing; who were these people? What exactly is an Art Director in advertising? Sort of like carpenters who work with wood, but who also design - they don't see to fit into an easily definable box, or job category over a career.

Can't wait for the book.

Unknown said...

Yes that 2002 scorecard was incorrect (how lame is that?). Shepard did the scorecards from 1937 to 1968.

The back covers were sometimes illustrated by Shepard as well, thus the signature. These were regularly reprinted.

An art director is basically the 'visual boss'. Responsibilities can vary wildly - but usually entail the final decision making on all things visual. They can then work with staff or freelance designers to execute their concepts. These days they rarely get their hands dirty, but there are still exceptions to that rule. Shepard did have an art staff but did the finished illustrations for the scorecards, excluding the lettering.

norman said...

oops - last post was from me...

norman said...

News update:
Book is on the boil, and slated for release from Haprer and Collins in 2014.

Eric Brightfield said...

I am fairly sure that 1962 ( huge mitt in foreground reaching for ball with cubs logo) was the last cover that Shepard actually designed, they just tried to emulate his style after he retired , he died in 1969

Eric Brightfield said...

@norman please tell us more about the book you are working on

norman said...

Sorry for the delay Eric-
It's all finished and will be released in November from Harper Collins: Dorothy and Otis: Designing America. Biographical information on Both Otis Shepard and his equally talented wife Dorothy. COvers their work in the billboard industry, baseball, the vitalization of Catalina Island and Wrigley's. Also features an extensive chapter on Shep's work for the Cubs. We've started a website which features some of the work: