George Lois, Esquire’s art director from 1962 to 1972, took a no holds barred approach to design, producing some of the most iconic covers in the history of magazines. Lois takes the same approach to interviews, telling AdAge media reporter Nat Ives how he was "embarrassed" by Esquire’s battery-powered e-ink cover, a "silly gimmick" that “cost a quarter of a million dollars, I’m told.” (Esquire’s issue touted the cover line, “The 21st Century Begins Now” with, as Lois described, “Mickey Mouse lights clicking on and off.”)

Since April, the MOMA has been hosting a collection of Lois’ Esquire cover designs. During this interview, Lois said: “great covers need to have a great idea behind them.” Of Esquire’s cover, he said: “That wasn’t great; it was ridiculous.”

“When will they learn?” Lois said of Esquire. “Oh lord, how long will it take for them to learn.”

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Whether B2B, association, consumer or regional, all magazine editors face many of the same issues. It’s not just about coming…