Native New Yorker and critically acclaimed Graphic Designer, Milton Glaser, redefined what it meant to be an influential artist. Glaser is best known for the “I (Heart) NY” logo, which became one of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time. To this day, the logo is one of the most reproduced logos in the world- hence, why you need to know who this guy is if you don’t already.
After training with Italian artist, Giorgio Morandi, Glaser relocated back to his hometown and co-founded the New York-based Push Pin Studios in 1954. Glaser was inspired by the styles of previous eras, like Art Nouveau and Art Deco. By 1967, Glaser became one of the most in-demand artists of his time. This was in large part due to his abstract portrait of Bob Dylan, which was later used for Dylan’s greatest hits album. But Glaser’s real claim-to-fame story began in the back of sweaty yellow cab in Midtown.
The story goes that Glaser was sitting in a Manhattan taxi in 1977, and for no rhyme or reason, suddenly dug through his pockets and took out a red crayon. On the back of a crinkled envelope, he began to sketch out an “I,” followed by the shape of a heart, and the New York initials, “NY.” This original sketch was designed with the “I” sitting above the “NY.” When he looked back on this particular sketch, he realized that his design reflected popular American Pop artist, Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” sculpture; this could have been the root of his inspiration for the sketch. He chose American Typewriter as the font for the logo and sent it to print. The rest is now a piece of history hanging in the MoMA.
Glaser’s other famous works include the bullet logo for DC Comics and, most recently, the “Mad Men” series finale poster. Glaser was also co-creator of New York Magazine, where he held both positions as President and Art Director. Additionally, he founded the design publication WBMG, which has published designs for over 50 magazines, journals, and newspapers.
So, the next time you want to impressive your artistic friends, or need a great answer for a trivia game, you’ll be able to lay down some facts about one of the greatest graphic designers of the 20th century.
Read more about Milton Glaser’s work here.