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New York City, USA - I HEART NY | © Benjamin Vander Steen/Flickr
New York City, USA - I HEART NY | © Benjamin Vander Steen/Flickr
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Milton Glaser, NYC’s Iconic Graphic Designer

Picture of Sean Scarisbrick
Updated: 24 April 2017
Milton Glaser has profoundly impacted the world of graphic design, and his works are all around New York. He has had a long history of artistic expertise in the city, and he continues to impact the design world at the School of Visual Arts. Here’s a look at the life and work of Milton Glaser.

 

Photograph of w:Milton Glaser taken in his office in NYC in May 2003 | © Gooskimo /Wikimedia Commons

Photograph of w:Milton Glaser taken in his office in NYC in May 2003 | © Gooskimo /WikiCommons

Milton Glaser was born on June 26, 1929, and he grew up in New York City. He attended the High School of Music and the Cooper Union, and he had the opportunity to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy as a Fulbright scholar. It was through these experiences that an artist was born.

In 1954, he joined Push Pin Studios, which had been founded by some of his fellow Cooper Union graduates. He directed the group with Seymour Chwast, who remains the principal of the current company – The Pushpin Group, Inc. Push Pin made a splash in the art world with exhibits around the world, in Japan, Brazil, and France. Glaser left the company in 1974.

Glaser went on to found New York Magazine with Clay Felker in 1968. This magazine was a cradle for a different kind of journalism, which was less polite and more direct. Over the years, many different magazines have taken to this model and have written in a style similar to the New York Magazine. Glaser was the design director and president until he left in 1977.

In 1974, Glaser founded Milton Glaser, Inc., a company that specializes in graphic design. This company has created logos for a number of different iconic companies, each of which remains intrinsic to the companies themselves today.

Brooklyn Brewery was not always the success it is today. The creators of the Brewery, Steve Hindy and Tom Potter, entered Milton Glaser, Inc. with the name ‘Brooklyn Eagle’ in mind. Glaser encouraged the men to change the name of the company, and it was with his new advertising campaign and logo design that Brooklyn Brewery became an iconic brewery that encouraged the production of other similar institutions in the borough.

Glaser was also responsible for redesigning the logo for the Rubin Museum of Art. With new signs, pictures, and a gilded wall, Glaser changed the design of a museum – thus bringing new art to an art institution.

One of his most notable works is the ‘I Love NY’ advertising campaign. In 1977, he was hired to design a logo to promote tourism to the state of NY. It was in the back seat of a taxi that he sketched the iconic logo, a sketch that is now held at the Museum of Modern Art. The logo became an immediate success, and it became a symbol of tourism in NYC. It is especially common on white t-shirts that are featured in nearly every tourist shop. After September 11, 2001, Glaser modified the logo so it read ‘I Love NY More Than Ever’ to show support for those affected.

In 1983, Glasser formed WBMG with Walter Bernard. This company is dedicated to design in the publishing world, and it has greatly impacted newspapers, journals, and magazines around the world. Three important clients included: The Washington Post, O Globo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and La Vanguardia in Barcelona, Spain.

In 2009, Milton Glaser was presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Obama, celebrating his lifetime of iconic art accomplishments. He is currently a professor at the School of Visual Arts where he works in the design department.

Some of Glaser’s most iconic work has been for very notable clients, including: Mad Men, Jet Blue, the Theatre for a New Audience, Bob Dylan, the School of Visual Arts, Stony Brook University, Penguin Press, Esquire Magazine, Fairway, and Julliard.

His work is incredibly iconic, and we are constantly surrounded by it, everyday.

 

By Sean Scarisbrick 

Sean is a graduate student at Hunter College where he studies Middle Eastern history. He is particularly interested in cultural history and language’s contribution to culture. He loves Shakespeare, Malala Yousafzai, Game of Thrones, foreign languages (Arabic, Spanish, and French), and Arabic street art.