June 20, 2014


If your vibe is stylish magazine covers from the 1960s, make sure to put George Lois on your radar. His design career includes many prominent logos and ad campaigns, as well as the iconic covers of Esquire magazine. His designs were collected in a 1996 book called Covering the 60s. Bud Plant Books has recently listed a warehouse find of back-stock, so now is a great time to pick up this out-of-print volume. His Esquire covers were also celebrated by MOMA in a retrospective exhibit in 2008. Story continues below.

George Lois described by Business Week: "Every industry has its stars, and in the world of advertising, George Lois is a Supernova, the original Mr. Big Idea. Since the 1950s, he’s had a titanic influence on world culture.” Lois and his advertising scene continue to resonate among the arts today. Pop culture fans of Mad Men certainly feel the aesthetic draw of 60s fashion, design, and architecture. Often called the original "Mad Man", Lois has debunked the moniker in interviews and in his book, Damn Good Advice. Although he recognizes the TV series Mad Men as a hot drama, Lois makes a point to call out Don Draper as a "no-talent, womanizing, drunk, smoking, white-shirted... son of a bi***" [CBS]. Speaking to CNN about the TV series, Lois said, "Mad Men misrepresents the advertising industry of my time by ignoring the dynamics of the Creative Revolution that changed the world of communications forever… That dynamic period of counterculture in the 1960s found expression on Madison Avenue through a new creative generation- a rebellious coterie of art directors and copywriters who understood that visual and verbal expression were indivisible, who bridled under the old rules that consigned them to secondary roles in the ad-making process dominated by non-creative hacks and technocrats… It was a testy time to be a graphic designer like me who had the rage to communicate and, to create icon rather than con. And, unlike the TV Mad Men, we worked full, exhausting, joyous days: pitching new business, creating ideas, "comping" them up, storyboarding them, selling them, photographing them, and directing commercials." A dramatic lifestyle may be essential for a TV series, but Lois seems to be all about the work itself. And for the record, Lois (now 82) has been married to his wife Rosie for over sixty years. You can go behind the scenes of many Esquire covers at the official George Lois website here. Forbes interview here

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