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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 5, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

    ‘So Bobby Kennedy said to me…”Go f***k yourself”.’

    Hugh Linehan

    I had the pleasure of meeting George Lois, one of the all-time greats of the US ad and magazine worlds (his Esquire magazine covers from the 1960s now hang in the Museum of Modern Art in New York). Here’s an example of his inimitable conversational style.

    I met George at last weekend’s rather excellent Offset 2010 event in Dublin’s Grand Canal Theatre, a celebration of creative design and designers which was both though-provoking and fun. I was on a panel with “the  man who’s going to save Conde Nast”, Scott Dadich, who launched that company’s Wired iPad app before going on to take responsibility for its overall digital design strategy. Also speaking were publisher Adrian Shaughnessy and art editor and critic Steven Heller.

    The subject under discussion was ‘The Future of Publishing’ and we managed to sort the whole thing out in 90 minutes… Well, not quite. But, as happens whenever I meet people involved in publishing and content creation these days, the striking thing is how we’re all facing exactly the same challenges, asking the same questions and (sometimes) fumbling towards the same tentative, open-ended answers in trying to figure out where the new digital world is bringing us.

    While Offset’s primary focus is on graphic design, by its nature it veers into related fields including newspaper and book publishing, the music industry, writing film-making, animation and gallery-based art. In Ireland at the moment there are various print and online publications  for consideration of such subjects, but too often they seem confined to their respective silos. And, inevitably, mainstream media only occasionally dips in and out of these subjects. It would be great to see a platform that allowed ongoing critical debate around culture in the broadest sense of the word emerge in this country. Anyone interested? Or should The Irish Times itself be doing more?

    • Did he have anything to say about his beef with Julian Koenig? Worth checking out the piece in this American Life by Julian Koenig’s daughter.

      Material: http://www.theadclass.com/creative/julian-koenig-george-lois-origin-story

    • BREN says:

      Hi Hugh,

      nice to meet you again at the weekend and thanks for being part of our event. We should definitely get together to discuss your thoughts on this and more!

      Bren

    • Richman says:

      The Irish Times should be doing much more.

    • Ted says:

      “It would be great to see a platform that allowed ongoing critical debate around culture in the broadest sense of the word emerge in this country.”
      Agreed. The level of engaged discourse within and about culture is very poor, with few notable exceptions – Jim Carroll for one.
      Culture is played for light relief in the ‘serious’ press. There are way too many fluffy space fillers and far too few questions posed. It is as if it would be (perish the thought!) anti-culture or impolite to ask if there could be management or spending issues (as in FÁS, the HSE or banking) in and around cultural activity. Could culture be another dissociated ‘bubble’ with its own internal logic that falls apart when it’s probed from the outside?
      But then, who wants to rain on the parade when we need parades to lift our spirits?

    • Owen says:

      There is an opportunity to break down the silos and have a broader debate about design culture through the project the city is undertaking to bid for World Design Capital 2014. Site for Dublin’s bid: http://www.pivotdublin.com, site for the competition generally: http://www.worlddesigncapital.com.

      While winning bid would be great, a big benefit will be the work put into making a credible bid. There is the opportunity to see what changes we could put in place to develop the city’s design infrastructure whether we win the bid or not. More and better critical debate around design and culture (rather than light fluff pieces Ted mentions) could be one of the outcomes. Does anyone think a new design release (whether a building, graphic campaign or a bus map) gets the same level of critiquing that say a new novel would get in the Irish media?

      The pivotdublin site also has a blog which is cross-disciplinary and which should over time build up as a resource and a space for discussion across boundaries.

      In the meantime congratulations to all concerned with organising the Offset 2010 conference! Another review here: http://creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2010/october/offset-2010-scott-dadich-lance-wyman-david-carson-and-more

    • barbera says:

      In any design project, the creative part of the process is the most exciting – you are faced with a challenge – for example, to create a new ad for a famous soft drink – and basically out of nothing and a lot of brainstorming (which works better with at least one other person) an idea emerges. There is nothing like it. I remember when my children were young (around twelve) a local petrol station (not Texaco) threw out a competition to the local schoolchildren to come up with a Poster which would show that the petrol station cared for the environment (tough brief !!). Well, for a couple of hours we sat down and wrote down every idea that came into our heads (didn’t realize that what we were doing at the time was “brainstorming”) and lo and behold not one but two final ideas materialised. You just know it’s right when everyone’s doing a happy dance! Anyway in that case, not one but the two posters executed by the youngsters won first prize, which included Euro 100 for their school and since then one of them has made a career as a director of ads/film, etc. So what I’m saying is that competition is a great way to get people involved and not only the Irish Times but local Business/Companies should “throw it out” to the public – small “prize” to pay for encouraging creativity, which is the progenitor of culture.

      PS Very much enjoyed browsing through the George Lois Esquire covers and comments.

    • Seán Kenny says:

      irishtimes.com needs more satirical blogs. I’m fairly sure that would singlehandedly resolve the multifarious challenges presented by the new digital world. In summary: more sarcastic blogs.

    • Hugh Linehan says:

      @Major Alfonso: I gather he touched on the subject.

      @Bren. Cheers and absolutely

      @Richman Duly noted

      @Ted: Couldn’t agree more

      @Owen. The assumptions underlying how the media treats different creative pursuits should certainly be questioned.

      @Barbera. Good point.

      @Sean. You’ve got to be joking

    • Daniel says:

      How can anything be “rather excellent” – very sloppy


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