Question: What do you think of magazine covers today?
Lois: Look at the newsstand, you know? I mean, it's a cacophony
of famous people or people who want to be famous with blurbs all around
it, and it's supposed to be, you know, that's supposed to be creativity
in journalism. My God, it's unbelievable. It's shocking. I mean, how
can 200 magazines, you know, do the same cover, you know? That's always
there. And advertising, go home and watch advertising. You watch
commercials on TV and I don't, really, I'm not kidding, I don't really
understand what the hell, I mean, half of them, I don't understand what
they're talking about, you know. And most people don't understand, even
if they see something that they kind of enjoy, they don't remember the
name of the product. So, I mean, think, I don't see, I mean, these
people who keep talking about we're on the advent of coming up with the
creative revolution, I don't see it, you know. I don't. At the same
time, I know there's got to be talent out there, I'm not sure who's
telling them what to do.
You have to have an understanding that
everything, go back to what I said before, everything you do, you have
to have a [...]. If you come up with an idea, a big idea, if you show it
to somebody, your wife, or friend, or a client, they should go, "Holy
shit." Your head shouldn't go back and forth, you know? It should be
such, it should be such a surprising idea, the only chance you have to
do anything that's memorable, is it has to be a shock when you first see
it, you know? And what people do is they, they just show the, the work
is so unambitious, you know? I mean, television commercials are little
films, you know, something's going on and you don't quite know what's
going on and you say, "Well, what is it about?" And then you're looking
for the, who the client is, and then when you see it, you say, "I don't
get it," you know.
So, I find it's a wasteland of creativity,
unfortunately. And I can't believe there isn't talent out there,
because I, you know, people, I have fans who confess, you know, a love
of my work, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, there's got to be something
they got to learn from it. What they got to be learning from it is
that when you do something, it should be a knockout idea, you know? And
in most cases, certainly, certainly in, which I only did for 10 years
for Esquire and, you know, and then in the Museum of Modern Art.
you have to, you know, when you, every cover is, when it was on the
newsstand, some people went, I mean, the culture went ape shit on some
of them. They looked at it and went, "Whoa!" You know, go to a
newsstand today, there's not a memorable, forget about something being
culturally... being a culture buster, there's nothing there that you can
possibly remember. There's an ad today about, a Hearst ad today, but
with three magazines, they talk about they're getting awards, et cetera,
et cetera, and you look at the covers and, I don't know, they're
nothing, you know, they're all the same cover, you know.
Do designers have less creative freedom today than in the 60's?
Lois: Oh, no, that's the big problem. You know, I mean, I'm
talking about people, about young designers not being ambitious enough,
etc., etc. One of the problems is that, you know, certainly in magazine
design there's a lot of terrific talent doing editorial. I mean, when
you get the, Society of Publication Designers sends me their awards
every year, a book, you know, and you look through it and there's a lot
of terrific spreads in it and a lot of exciting stuff going on. You
know there's talent there, and then they show the best covers of the
year and they're nothing, you know?
Recorded April 5, 2010