Milton Glaser, legendary graphic design and the mind behind iconic brands like DC Comics and the "I Heart NY" design, has died of natural causes. He was 91. The designer was also responsible for helping revive New York Magazine in the late 1960s and turning it into the publication it's known as today. Alongside Esquire alum Clay Felker, the two ran New York until 1977 when news magnate Rupert Murdoch purchased the paper.
Outside of logo work, Glaser's most notable piece is likely his psychedelic take on Bob Dylan for the singer's Greatest Hits promo in 1966.
With New York City crashing and burning in the late-1970's due to an exploding crime rate, the local tourism bureau brought Glaser and Wells Rich Greene on board to design a logo in an effort to bring more people to the city — that project would lead to the brand which would become the ever-popular "I Heart NY" logo you've seen countless times throughout your life. In fact, one could say fewer brands have become more ingrained in pop culture than Glaser's creation.
Due to the state of New York at the time, Glaser offered his services pro-bono to the state. According to the Village Voice, the licensing of the logo made upwards of $1.83 million for the city in 2010.
"I’m flabbergasted by what happened to this little, simple, nothing of an idea," Glaser told the Voice in 2011. "It just demonstrates that every once in a while you do something that can have enormous consequences…it was a bunch of little scratches on a piece of paper! I am just astonished by the amount of money it’s brought in. I went to Chinatown a few months ago, and it had been transformed to a gazillion “I Love New York” T-shirts on every building and facade. It amazes me."
He added, "I’m also amazed by how indifferent the state is to all of that. When I did “I Love New York More Than Ever” [after 9/11], the state threatened to sue me — they said I was infringing on the copyright. You realize when you’re dealing with any bureaucracy that they’re so indifferent to anyone but themselves."
Cover photo by Neville Elder/Corbis via Getty Images
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