A huge factor. The press needs new things to write about or they wonâ€™t have jobs. Again, look at the apparel business. Every season designers flood the runways with outrageous, and often totally impractical, looks. They also do lines that are more mainstream, but what fills the pages of the fashion magazines?
Similarly, the design, business and popular press focus on the most obviously different, whether good or questionable. (Iâ€™m being charitable here.) For a recent example, look at Chris Bangle. Heâ€™s probably had more press than all other current car designers combined. Do or direct controversial (charity again) work, talk ad nauseam about how youâ€™re changing a company, and perhaps the whole world of car design and be a showman. Whether or not you like his work, Bangle gives good interview.
Most other designers have been politely quiet, though a few comments like the Z4 â€œlooks like it was designed with a machete.â€ and describing the new One-series, â€œGod, what a shit-ugly car!â€ have been quoted. Meanwhile, Henrik Fisker designed Aston Martins that receive almost universal accolades from his peers as being perhaps the most beautiful cars on the market, yet is virtually unknown outside of the industry.
K-Rash looks like the publicâ€™s stereotype of an artsy-fartsy wacko designer and gets TV interviews and pages of press, not to mention a lucrative Target contract. Ives, for the most part, flies under the radar and just keeps doing outstanding work. BTW, he drives a DB9. Or take a guy like Syd Mead whoâ€™s about as normal looking and unpretentious as they come. Who, outside of the business, has heard of him?
To sum up, if you want to be a famous, or infamous, designer, be flamboyant, be controversial and be visible at every opportunity. If you do the press a favor by making their jobs easier, theyâ€™ll do you a favor by making you famous. And if you can afford it, hire a PR firm. Raymond Lowey hired Betty Reese on the condition that she get his face on the cover of Time magazine within one year. She succeeded. Of course the accent didnâ€™t hurt. It seldom does.