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.
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The “I [heart] NY” logo that Milton Glaser designed for the New York Commerce Commission in 1975 has spawned thousands of knock-offs, take-offs and parodies over the years. Cities worldwide have unapologetically stolen the concept, replacing NY with their own name, and organizations have swapped out the heart for a rebus that suits their own message. Recently, The New York Times invited readers to submit their own interpretation of the iconic symbol and hundreds of people, including Milton Glaser himself, sent in their take on the famous logo. What’s wonderful about Glaser’s logo is its conciseness and simplicity. Graphically, it strips away the superfluous to plainly reveal the essence of the message. That’s true of most of these submitted versions too; replacing the heart reveals a whole new meaning.
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