Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

Milton Glaser, designer behind the I Heart NY logo, has died aged 91

The American graphic designer died in Manhattan on the day of his 91st birthday

Milton Glaser, the pioneering graphic designer behind the I Heart NY logo, has died.

Glaser, who had a career spanning more than six decades, died in Manhattan on Friday, June 26, the day of his 91st birthday.

His wife, Shirley Glaser, told The New York Times, that the cause of his death was a stroke and renal failure.

The influential designer – who created the DC Comics logo as well as the image of Bob Dylan’s silhouette with tousled psychedelic-hued hair – has worked on a number of periodicals, posters, restaurant menus and books. He even co-founded New York magazine in 1968 with editor Clay Felker.

“Around our office, of course, he will forever be one of the small team of men and women that, in the late sixties, yanked New York out of the newspaper morgue and turned it into a great American magazine,” the magazine’s obituary of the designer reads.

Glaser also was the only graphic designer to receive the National Medal of Arts, which was awarded to him by President Barrack Obama in 2010.

“At a time when European designers, especially in Switzerland, were defining the terms of vanguard design, Milton Glaser helped launch an alternative ethos rooted in American pop culture and counterculture,” Ellen Lupton, senior curator of contemporary design at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum told The Washington Post. “His more personal, narrative and permissive design philosophy itself became a worldwide phenomenon.”

Milton Glaser, the designer who created the "I (HEART) NY" logo and the famous Bob Dylan poster with psychedelic hair, died Friday, June 26, 2020, his 91st birthday. Hans Pennink/AP/Shutterstock
Milton Glaser's design, the I Heart NY logo. AP Photos

But the design he is perhaps best known for is the I Heart NY logo, which elegantly summarises Glaser’s sentiments about his native city.

The New York State Department of Commerce launched an advertising campaign in 1977 that aimed to boost the morale of New Yorkers and attract tourists to the city, which at the time was verging on bankruptcy. Glaser was tasked with creating a logo for the marketing campaign to go along with the state’s new slogan: “I love New York.”

Glaser conceived the original design during a taxi ride, replacing the word love with a heart drawn with a red crayon. The original drawing is now displayed in the Museum of Modern Art.

In a 2008 interview with The New York Times, Glaser said he never expected the logo to be as far-reaching and iconic as it had become.

“It is one of those peculiarities of your own life where you don’t know the consequences of your own actions. Who in the world would have thought that this silly little bit of ephemera would become one of the most pervasive images of the 20th century?”

Updated: June 27, 2020 05:03 PM

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