[WORLDKINGS] Journey to seek extraordinary record holders around the world (P.63) - Milton Glaser, Master Designer of ‘I ♥ NY’ Logo, one of the most celebrated graphic designers in the United States.


(WorldKings.org) Mr. Glaser brought wit, whimsy, narrative and skilled drawing to commercial art at a time when advertising was dominated by the severe strictures of modernism on one hand and the cozy realism of magazines.

Mr. Glaser delighted in combining visual elements and stylistic motifs from far-flung sources. For the Dylan poster, a promotional piece included in the 1967 album “Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits,” he created a simple outline of the singer’s head, based on a black-and-white self-portrait silhouette by Marcel Duchamp, and added thick, wavy bands of color for the hair, forms he imported from Islamic art.

“I ♥ NY,” his logo for a 1977 campaign to promote tourism in New York State, achieved even wider currency. Sketched on the back of an envelope with red crayon during a taxi ride, it was printed in black letters in a chubby typeface, with a cherry-red heart standing in for the word “love.” Almost immediately, the logo became an instantly recognized symbol of New York City, as recognizable as the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty.

Milton Glaser was born on June 26, 1929, in the Bronx, to Eugene and Eleanor (Bergman) Glaser, immigrants from Hungary. When Milton was a young boy, an older cousin drew a bird on the side of a paper bag to amuse him. “Suddenly, I almost fainted with the realization that you could create life with a pencil,” he told Inc. magazine in 2014. “And at that moment, I decided that’s how I was going to spend my life.”

He took drawing classes with Raphael and Moses Soyer, the social realist artists, before enrolling in the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan (now the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts). After twice failing the entrance exam for Pratt Institute, he worked at a package-design company before being accepted by the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

After graduating from the Cooper Union in 1951 and working in the promotion department at Vogue magazine, Mr. Glaser won a Fulbright scholarship to the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy, where he studied etching with the still-life painter Giorgio Morandi and, in the time-honored way, drew from plaster casts. The experience left him a fervent believer in the discipline of drawing and an enemy of found images and collage in design work.

Returning to New York, Mr. Glaser resumed his partnership with his former classmates, who had created the Push Pin Almanack to advertise their work and allow them to experiment. When they founded Push Pin Studios in 1954, Mr. Glaser was named its president. The studio quickly became recognized for its bright colors, surreal juxtapositions and exaggerated, flattened forms, seen in book jackets (Mr. Glaser designed all the covers for the Signet Classic Shakespeare series), magazine illustrations, record covers, television commercials and typography.

He married Shirley Girton, his replacement at the package-design company that first hired him, in 1957. The couple collaborated on the children’s books “If Apples Had Teeth” (1960), “The Alphazeds” (2003) and “The Big Race” (2005). They lived in Manhattan and Woodstock, N.Y.

Mr. Glaser started his own design firm, Milton Glaser Inc., in 1974. A year later he left Push Pin, just as he was being given his own show at the Museum of Modern Art.

He managed to stay current. In the late 1980s he designed the AIDS logo for the World Health Organization and the logo and packaging for Brooklyn Brewery, using a capital B inspired by the old Brooklyn Dodgers. He designed a logo for “Angels in America,” Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, and posters for Vespa’s 50th anniversary in 1996 and for the final season of the television series “Mad Men” in 2014.

Mr. Glaser, whose other books include “The Milton Glaser Poster Book” (1977), “Art Is Work” (2000) and “Drawing Is Thinking” (2008), taught for many years at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. He was the subject of the 2008 documentary film “Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight.”

In 2004 he received a lifetime achievement award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (now the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum), and in 2009 he became the first graphic designer to receive the National Medal of Arts.

“I’m a person who deals with visual material whatever it is — architecture, an object, a set of plates, wallpaper — right now I’m doing T-shirts,” he told Aileen Kwun and Bryn Smith for their book “Twenty Over Eighty: Conversations on a Lifetime in Architecture and Design” (2016). “I know a lot about the way things look, and as a consequence, I try to see how much of that world I can embrace.”

According to nytimes.com


Mihan (Collect and edit) (World Records Union - WorldKings.org)


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