Get Ready for Some Football With the David Boss Collection

The NFL season starts this week.  In celebration, Modern Graphic History Library presents NFL football publications from the David Boss Collection.

David Boss was an artist, illustrator, and photographer who was the Creative Director of NFL Properties for 26 years.  Boss was the artist who redesigned the NFL logo to a red, white, and blue shield.

artwork by Goerge Bartell, 1968

Boss studied art at the Cleveland Institute of Arts and in 1958 took a job as the designer for the Los Angeles Rams.

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artwork by T. Smith, August 19, 1967

He consulted with NFL Properties in 1963 and two years later, was its Creative Director — a position he would hold until he retired in 1990.  In addition to illustration, Boss created PRO! Magazine as well as commissioned artwork for programs, calendars, and football-related publications which were often sponsored by advertisers.

For those that were new to football, there was The ABC’s of Football: A Primer.

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artwork by Trousdell Mabey, The ABC’s of Football: A Primer, 1972

and explanations on how to call specific plays.

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artwork by Weller, from The Amateur Official Statistician’s Work Kit, 1973

There were tips for the ladies who were new to football…

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from Ladies’ Guide To Football, in conjunction with Birds Eye, by unknown artist, 1966

as well as tips for families.

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from The Family Guide To Football, September 1967, by unknown artist

One of the sponsors of The Family Guide was Chase & Sanborn Coffee, the official NFL training table coffee.  Illustrator Al Parker drew the football-themed ad for the product.

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from The Family Guide To Football, September 1967, by unknown artist ; coffee advertisement by Al Parker

Parents were encouraged parents to sign their kids up for the annual Punt, Pass, and Kick Competition.

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artwork by J Isom, from Pass, Punt, and Kick Competion Tips Booklet, 1972

Different artists were commissioned to illustrate the basics of play until the mid-1970s, when photography was used instead.

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artwork by Alain A. Moreau, from Pass, Punt, and Kick Competition Tips Booklet, 1970

David Boss left his mark on sports graphics and design, and his influence is still seen today.  Boss died on January 8, 1999 at age 67.


Information about David Boss came from:

David Boss.  USA Today,  n.d.

David Boss National Football League Executive.  January 11, 1999.

About the author

Andrea Degener is the Visual Materials Processing Archivist in the department of Special Collections at Washington University Libraries.