I Heart NY & Milton Glaser

I HEART NY & MILTON GLASER

This is the classic “I Heart NY” design by the great Milton Glaser. Born in 1929, Glaser was an American graphic designer, who’s creations include the I Heart New York logo, the psychedelic Bob Dylan poster and the logos for DC Comics and Brooklyn Brewery. Glaser’s work was, and still is, incredibly influential. His style and messages have had a huge impact on the world. You’ll know his work even if you don’t know his name.

 

One of Glaser’s most recognizable works is his I Heart New York logo. In the mid-1970s, New York City’s crime rate was up and the city was widely perceived to be dangerous place to live and was also on the verge of bankruptcy. In 1976 the State of New York hired Milton Glaser to design a logo to increase tourism.

Glaser came up with the design while sitting in the back of a taxi cab on the way to the meeting. The logo consists of the capital “I” and a red heart, stacked on top of the letters “NY” in the typeface ‘American Typewriter’ to symbolize New York as much as possible. His inspiration for the logo was Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” design, with the four letters stacked in two sets on top of each other. Glaser was so proud of his home city of New York that in 1977, he gave his work to the city for free, hoping it would become public property. This single piece of design that Glaser chose to ask money for, now earns New York state $30 million each year!

His now globally recognisable, iconic cultural stamp, is reproduced on everything from coffee cups to t-shirts and tote-bags to hats. The logo today can be seen everywhere throughout New York City. Just as Robert Indiana’s work influenced Glaser, Glaser’s work has inspired others to create “I Heart” variations of the logo. The state of New York has filed nearly 3,000 objections against a wide range of copy-cat designs. When asked his thoughts on “I Heart NY” imitations, Glaser said: “I like them all… you do work because you want to affect the world. I did something that a lot of people were affected by.”

 

After the 9/11 attacks, the logo has become even more important, as a symbol of solidarity, creating unity in the city for the public to rally around. Glaser even designed a modified version saying, “I Heart New York More than Ever”, in response to the attacks. The red heart had a small blackened and burned area along the bottom left edge to symbolize the attack on the World Trade Centre.

His now globally recognisable, iconic cultural stamp, is reproduced on everything from coffee cups to t-shirts and tote-bags to hats. The logo today can be seen everywhere throughout New York City. Just as Robert Indiana’s work influenced Glaser, Glaser’s work has inspired others to create “I Heart” variations of the logo. The state of New York has filed nearly 3,000 objections against a wide range of copy-cat designs. When asked his thoughts on “I Heart NY” imitations, Glaser said: “I like them all… you do work because you want to affect the world. I did something that a lot of people were affected by.”

 

After the 9/11 attacks, the logo has become even more important, as a symbol of solidarity, creating unity in the city for the public to rally around. Glaser even designed a modified version saying, “I Heart New York More than Ever”, in response to the attacks. The red heart had a small blackened and burned area along the bottom left edge to symbolize the attack on the World Trade Centre.

Glaser received the National Medal of Arts in 2009. This lifetime honour was presented to him by President Barack Obama himself at a ceremony in the White House. The Medal of Arts is the nation’s highest honour for artistic excellence. Milton Glaser’s work is represented in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Smithsonian Institute (Washington, D.C), The Israel Museum (Jerusalem), the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (New York) and many, many more. Glaser is a graphic design legend and his most iconic piece of design, he gave to the world for free.

 

Glaser only passed away just over a month ago on 26th June, and his passion and love of design will be sorely missed. I think Glaser’s ethos should live on through graphic designers and creatives everywhere. Create for causes you believe in, and use your skill to advocate for a better future whether you are paid, or not. That one little idea you have might make a world of difference if you only get it out there. “We are all born with genius” Glasser said. He’ll forever be remembered as the “I Heart NY” guy, and I think he’d be perfectly content with that.


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