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Glaser, designer of ‘I Love NY’ logo, dies at 91

By The Associated Press - | Jul 4, 2020

NEW YORK (AP) – Milton Glaser, the groundbreaking graphic designer who adorned Bob Dylan’s silhouette with psychedelic hair and summed up the feelings for his native New York with “I (HEART) NY,” died June 26, his 91st birthday.

The cause was a stroke and Glaser had also had renal failure, his wife, Shirley Glaser, told The New York Times.

In posters, logos, advertisements and book covers, Glaser’s ideas captured the spirit of the 1960s with a few simple colors and shapes. He was the designer on the team that founded New York magazine with Clay Felker in the late ’60s.

“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 Glaser said.

Soon city magazines everywhere were sprouting and aping its simple, witty design style. When publishing titan Rupert Murdoch forced Felker and Glaser out of New York magazine in a hostile takeover in 1977, the staff walked out in solidarity with their departing editors, leaving an incomplete issue three days before it was due on newsstands.

“We have brought about – however small – a change in the visual habits of people,” he told The Washington Post in 1969. “Television conditions people to demand imagination.”

But he said he had to work to keep his style fresh.

“There’s an enormous pressure to repeat past successes. That’s a sure death.” Referring to a beloved ’60s design motif, he added that he couldn’t do another rainbow “if my life depended on it.”

His pictorial sense was so profound, and his designs so influential, that his works in later years were preserved by collectors and studied as fine art.

But he preferred not to use the term “art” at all.

“What I’m suggesting is we eliminate the term art and call everything work,” Glaser said in an Associated Press interview in 2000, when the Philadelphia Museum of Art hosted an exhibit on his career. “When it’s really extraordinary and moves it in a certain way, we call it great work. We call it good when it accomplishes a task, and we call it bad when it misses a target.”

The bold “I (HEART) NY” logo – cleverly using typewriter-style letters as the typeface – was dreamed up as part of an ad campaign begun in 1977 to boost the state’s image when crime and budget troubles dominated the headlines. Glaser did the design free of charge.

Nearly a quarter-century later, just days after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, he revised it, adding a dark scar to the red heart and “more than ever” to the message.

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