SCMF Musings: We Heart Milton Glaser…

Milton Glaser New York Lion

The Sunday New York Times had a story which we were eager to read about the graphic designer who came up with the ubiquitous “I [Heart] NY” logo. It was part of the publication’s “Lions of New York” series — a strange name indeed considering that our gang, and Joey in particular, immediately thought of the lions outside the New York Public Library (named Patience and Fortitude), as “THE” lions of New York.

New York Public Library lion

But we digress. This piece was about the man who, in a taxi ride to his studio one day, he had an idea that topped the ones he was playing around with for two weeks (logo with the words “I Love New York” inside two lozenges). Using a red crayon on a scrap of paper, he sketched out the four characters in the logo that would be seen around the world: I ♥ NY.


BTW… That original scrap of paper is now in the Museum of Modern Art.

To Mr. Glaser, the slogan was appealing because it was less a sales pitch than an oath, a statement of belief. It did not try to persuade people to buy or do anything.

The logo, for which he received a $2,000 fee — less than the cost of producing the mock-ups, he said — now generates more than $1 million annually for the state in licensing fees, and keeps a bevy of state lawyers busy writing cease-and-desist letters for its unlicensed use.

And There’s More!

Mr. Glaser is not a “one and done” sort of graphic designer. We were amazed to find out he created a number of memorable visuals including:

>Brooklyn Brewery


Steve Hindy and Tom Potter, the originators of Brooklyn Beer, came looking for an identity 28 years ago. They had the name Brooklyn Eagle, which Milton suggested was not as good a name for a beer as the word ‘Brooklyn’, itself.The studio has done all advertising, promotional material and packaging since then.

> jetBlue’s adaptation of the I Love NY

jetBlue hearts NY logo Glaser

In 2010, jetBlue, New York’s hometown airline, wanted to integrate its logo with the Heart NY one in a way that both logos looked like they were always meant to be together.

The results of the effort were pretty darn fantastic. Read more about it here.

> The “I Heart” Logo Contest…

I heart new york logo contest

From Annie’s office.

Tied to the 2010 unveil of the jetBlue licensing of the I Love New York logo, was a contest that encouraged people to use their imaginations to design a logo or slogan for a New York brand or company that integrates I ♥ NY. A gallery of submissions were made available online and in a full pager appearing in the September 26, 2010 edition of the Sunday NY Times.

> Early on, there was the Bob Dylan Poster

Bob Dylan poster 1966 Glaser
Way back in 1966, CBS records commissioned Milton Glaser to design a special poster to be packaged with the ob Dylan’s Greatest Hits album. Taking inspiration from a Marcel Duchamp self-portrait, Glaser depicted Dylan in profile, his abundant curly hair rendered in saturated colors that stood out in high contrast from the white ground. The energetic design with its swirling streams of color evokes the visual effects of the psychedelic drugs that were gaining popularity amongst members of the counter culture.

You can read more of the backstory here.

The Amazin’ Mr. Glaser…

He does product design too!

Cork presenter milton glaser

That’s a wrap!

The City never sleeps and apparently, that can also be said about the 87-year old Mr. Glaser. He “hearts” working.


Furthermore, he said:

…I also think there’s an opportunity to do good. Not in a moralistic sense, but to feel that you’re a part of something larger than yourself. But that’s not really why I do it. I do it because it is so pleasurable for me. I derive this deep, deep satisfaction that nothing else, including sex, has ever given me. It’s the reason I’m here, is to do the work. And I’m so happy that I can still do it well.”

We heart this guy!

If you want to read more about him and his work, check out the links below.

Thanks for reading and, as always #SCMF!!

—The Gang

First, a sampling of I Love NY ads…

Radio Ad:

I Love NY TV Ad:

A Classic! Sinatra singing about the City that never sleeps…

Here’s Mr. Glaser’s TED Talk page.

There’s a documentary too!

Milton Glaser documentary

Instead of a detailed biography, this small, heartening documentary, produced and directed by Wendy Keys, concentrates on his work, with analysis by many commentators, of whom the most articulate is Mr. Glaser himself. The film takes its title from a quotation of Horace — “the purpose of art is to inform and delight” — that encapsulates Mr. Glaser’s humanist aesthetic


Enjoyed this read? Want more ponderables?

Sign up to our mailing list!

Our weekly DragonBustR Reader will provide you with a nice snapshot of what’s new and ponderable at Jedemi. Plus, you will get updates on The Jedemi Chronicles (Trilogy & Series).


Speak Your Mind