Milton Glaser

If there is one city that represents what design and visual communication have meant for 20th-century culture, it is New York.
And if there is one figure that has embodied that relationship, between a city and the profession of designer, it has undoubtedly been Milton Glaser.
His ‘I love New York’ logo has become the best city branding and probably the most frequently copied logo ever.
Milton passed away from kidney failure at his Manhattan home last Friday, as was explained by his wife of 64 years, Shirley.
In order to make the dates easier for his biographers, he died on the same day as his birthday, having been born exactly 91 years earlier into a family of Jewish Hungarian immigrants in the New York district of the Bronx.
Milton loved New York, and that love led him to gift the logo and its rights to the city, filling the coffers of the state of New York with more than 30 million dollars a year.
It is understandable, then, that the state’s governor, Andreu Cuomo, should announce, on the day following his death, the passing of a great New Yorker.
Milton Glaser studied art at New York City’s The Cooper Union. On graduating, a Fulbright scholarship enabled him to go and study in the Italian city of Bologna, where he completed his training as a splendid illustrator and as a graphic designer with a sound grounding in classical etching.
In 1954, Milton Glaser founded, along with Seymour Chwast, Push Pin Studios. A benchmark in the world of design and illustration which Milton headed for 20 years and whose production, brimming with inspiration, color and brilliant proposals, led Steven Heller, a New York Times’ writer and design critic, to define them as “The Beatles of illustration and design”.
On account of the cultural significance and social impact of many of his projects, and always boasting high artistic quality, Glaser’s work is an accurate representation of what the semiologist Gillo Dorfles describes as “The art of industrial society”, when referring to design.
But Milton did not only love his city. He always maintained a commitment and passion for what he did, which most of the time goes hand in hand with many of the professional activities that best light up our world.
Over these past years, in a somewhat delicate state of health, if you asked him why he continued to go to his studio every morning, he would reply that “creating something that does not exist is the greatest possible source of pleasure in life”.
Milton, we’ll carry on seeing you, with your most intelligent design smile, forever behind New York City’s red heart: I love Milton.

Manuel Estrada


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