Designer Milton Glaser, who passed this week on his 91st birthday, left a body of work that transcends the decades. His “I love NY” logo, psychedelic Dylan poster, and Mahalia Jackson album cover will forever remain part of our cultural iconography.
His love of design remained strong to his final days. For Milton, design wasn’t a profession or merely a means to accrue wealth and fame. It was a process of observing, learning, communicating core ideas. It is fitting that the last piece that he was working on when he passed was a graphical treatment of the word “Together” to encourage the public struggling through the covid 19 pandemic.
In interviews throughout the years, Milton had offered many inspiring words of wisdom. Here are just a few of them:
“If you can sustain your interest in what you’re doing, you’re an extremely fortunate person. What you see very frequently in people’s professional lives, and perhaps in their emotional life as well, is that they lose interest in the third act. You sort of get tired, and indifferent, and, sometimes, defensive. And you kind of lose your capacity for astonishment — and that’s a great loss, because the world is a very astonishing place.”
“Fail more often in order to find out what you’re capable of learning.”
“Certainty is a closing of the mind. To create something new you must have doubt.”
“All the things you’re not supposed to do at the beginning of your professional life—transgressiveness, arbitrariness and violating expectations—you find more attractive at the end of your professional life.”
I believe that art is a form of meditation for both maker and witness, and that art, like meditation, makes us attentive…produces quiet in the mind so that it can discard pre-existing ideas to see what is real.”
“I’m still astonished, things still amaze me. And I think that’s the great benefit of being in the arts, where the possibility for learning never disappears…In my own experience, anything I’ve discovered has come through the act of work, of making things, that the act itself is the path to discovery.”
Thank you, Milton.