Self Defeating Habit

"Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything."

- George Lois

Most of you won’t know of George Lois.

Google him.

He was one of the most influential figures in the first commercial creative revolution, spurred by advertising in the 1960’s. Lois was also a serious player in the world of magazine design. His covers for Esquire remain beacons in the world of lame–ass coverlines.


A couple of years ago I wrote a book, as yet unpublished (so let’s call it a thesis) The One & Only™. 

In it I champion the idiosyncratic.

I still do.

It is important.

If not crucial.

You cannot adopt the common practices of your industry without becoming homogenised…bromided…neutered. 

Like Jerry Garcia said "Don’t be the best at what you do–be the only one that does it".

It is crucial to me that Idealog is not like other magazines. Not like another business mag. Not like a design mag. Not an ad rag.We are us. We cross pollinate. We are (sometimes) enigmatic. Above all, we aim to stimulate. We must resist migration to the safe, cosy confines of the dull middle ground. We may get some things wrong, but that doesn’t mean the bland, the placid or the proven is ‘right’. Contrary to popular belief getting on an aeroplane to visit Paris or Cairo is not a voyage of discovery - any more than opening a tube of toothpaste is science. They are known, mapped, habitual destinations. 

Perhaps the worst fate for a magazine like ours is that there are no surprises, that everything is so well mapped out that it feels like an instruction manual. In the creative economy there is no handbook - no map. Anything less than innovation is habit. Maybe all habits are bad habits?

David MacGregor is a founder and creative director of Idealog

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).