George Lois

Graphic Designer / United States / Good Karma Creative

(1931–2022). The legendary George Lois is the most creative, prolific advertising communicator of our time. Running his own ad agencies, he is renowned for dozens of marketing miracles that triggered innovative and populist changes in American (and world) culture. In his twenties he was a pioneer of the landmark Creative Revolution in American Advertising. He introduced and popularized the Xerox culture; he created the concept and prototype design for the New York supplement for the Herald Tribune (the forerunner of New York Magazine); made a failing MTV a huge success with his “I Want My MTV” campaign; helped create and introduce VH1; created a new marketing category, Gourmet Frozen Foods, with his name Lean Cuisine; and (by inventing yet another new marketing phenomenon) persuaded Americans to change their motor oil at thousands of Jiffy Lube stations. He made the totally unknown Tommy Hilfiger immediately famous with just one ad; and saved USA Today from extinction with his breakthrough “singing” TV campaign. In 1994, almost overnight, he changed the perception of ESPN from a “Demolition Derby” sports channel to the number one sports network with his dynamic “In Your Face” campaign. Additionally he created the winning ad campaigns for four U. S. Senators: Jacob Javits (R-NY), Warren Magnuson (D-WA),  Minority Leader Hugh Scott (R-PA), and Robert Kennedy (D-NY). His list of breakthrough ad campaigns goes on and on. Additionally, the only music video he created, Jokerman by Bob Dylan, won the MTV Best Music Video of the Year Award in 1983.

George Lois has been inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame and the One Club Creative Hall of Fame, with Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Society of Publication Designers; and he has been a subject of the Master Series at the School of Visual Arts. He is the author of George, Be Careful (Saturday Review Press, 1972), an autobiography; The Art of Advertising (Abrams, 1976), praised as “the bible of mass communications”; What’s the Big Idea? (Doubleday, 1991), used as a text book in college communications courses all over the world; Covering the ’60s (Monacelli Press, 1996), presenting his iconic Esquire covers during that turbulent decade; $ellebrity (Phaidon, 2003), a brilliantly reviewed book dealing with his extraordinary campaigns using celebrities in fresh and outrageous ways; Ali Rap, The First Heavyweight Champion of Rap (Taschen/ESPN, 2006), a compilation of over 300 rap rhythms, witticisms, insults, and wisecracks from Muhammad Ali, wittily and powerfully visualized; Iconic America (Rizzoli/Universe, 2007), a roller-coaster ride through the eye-popping panorama of American pop culture; and his eighth, and most recent book, George Lois on His Creation of The Big Idea (Assouline, 2008), a mind-boggling archaeological dig revealing the influences on 100 of his Big Ideas.

Additionally, in 2008, The Museum of Modern Art installed 38 of the iconic Esquire covers in its permanent collection, celebrated by a year-long exhibition: George Lois: The Esquire Covers @ MoMA. A book celebrating the MoMA installation was published by Assouline in Spring 2010.

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