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The Kempt Profile: George Lois

  • Photography by Dan Smith

George Lois

At age 20, George Lois dropped out of school to join the ad world. Over the next 60 years, he was behind some of the world’s most iconic images and slogans, including Muhammad Ali’s 1968 Esquire cover, the campaign to free Ruben “Hurricane” Carter and “I Want My MTV.” More recently, he wrote a book called Damn Good Advice, and we were able to sit down with him for a few hours to unpack the wisdom of a life in the creative world. (Not coincidentally, our friends at UD Perks have tickets to a lunch with the man, if you’d like to see the show in person.)

The wisdom of George Lois, after the jump»

The Wisdom of George Lois

George Lois’s brain is an interesting place.

Over the past 50 years, he’s spawned too many pop culture flash points to count—everything from the iconic ’60s Esquire covers to “I Want My MTV.” Now he’s pouring out a lifetime of hard-ass wisdom (including an unusually vicious attack on Don Draper) in a 192-page tome titled Damn Good Advice. And since the book won’t be out until March, we thought we’d pass along some of the best lines. Get inspired, gentlemen...

Hear the wisdom of George Lois»

Constance Jablonski is not to be Trifled With


Knives Out: We’re not sure what she’s looking at, but we’re glad it’s not us. [Fashion Gone Rogue]

Silent Kids: Chuck Klosterman sits down with Stephen Malkmus, in what we can only assume was the most deadpan interview ever. [GQ]

Full Coverage: George Lois looks back on his favorite twelve covers, including Sonny Liston as Santa. [Vulture]

Matchstick Men: An exhaustive record of matchbooks handsome enough to make us cash in our Zippos. [The Matchbook Registry]

Copy Artists


Ad men have been enjoying quite a bit of attention, so the time is ripe for a gushy documentary covering some of the industry’s greatest hits. Who came up with that “got milk” business, anyway?

Art & Copy (via Josh Spear) tracked down the creatives in question—in this case, Rich Silverstein and Jeff Goodby—along with a slate of other names like George Lois of the famous 60s Esquire covers and Hal Riney of the 1984 Reagan campaign. Together they’re responsible for some of the most iconic images of the past 50 years. We’re thinking of the “I Heart NY” logo, the Energizer bunny, and the more recent dancing silhouette iPod ads…but we’re sure you have a favorite of your own.

It’s not bad as a profile of an industry, and we’re sure there are more than enough outsized personalities to fill up 90 minutes—especially whoever was unselfconscious enough to offer the quote, “we’re doing exactly the same thing as the guys who were painting on caves.”

A master marketer should have known how that was going to sound.

See the trailer after the jump»