By the early 1960s, Esquire had become regarded as little more than a "dirty old man" magazine. A mysoginistic, out-of-touch relic of a bygone era of men's magazines. But when editor Harold Hayes took the reigns, teaming with designer George Lois, the magazine was reinvigorated with purpose. Esquire became one of the foremost voices of the '60s with innovative covers and groudbreaking content that defined the generation of radicalism and protest.
Check out some of Lois' covers here.
For their 75th anniversary, Esquire is currently running homages to some of their most innovative covers. By comparison, they look artless and contrived. Not to mention the fact that the over-the-top coverlines make you feel like you're reading an eye chart. Though Esquire still has some great content and amazing writing (AJ Jacobs, I'm looking at you), the era of giving rise to activism and pushing creative boundaries seems to be gone.