Designers, in my humble opinion, are a self-congratulatory lot. They constantly hold juried competitions and give themselves awards, produce publications to pat each other on the back, and freely call elder designers “icons” and “legends.” Copywriters, on the other hand, (of whom I count myself among them) never refer to anyone in the profession as a “copywriting legend” or “copywriting icon”. We don’t put out magazines reprinting the best corporate brochure text, direct marketing paragraph, or pithy headline. As a group, copywriters are usually unsung and ignored. That said, there is one designer who genuinely deserves to be called a “legend”: Milton Glaser. He is to be admired for his originality, talent, contributions to art and design, and because he comes across as a sweetie. That makes us happy to present this short video interview of Milton Glaser, put together by the New York Times.
Those of us who are concerned about climate change finally have a slogan and graphic identity to rally around, thanks to design legend Milton Glaser.
The campaign’s slogan — “It’s Not Warming, It’s Dying” — doesn’t mince words about what’s ultimately at stake for the earth if we don’t get a grip on global warming. Done in conjunction with New York’s School of Visual Arts (SVA), where Glaser is acting chairman and a faculty member, the campaign aims to spark action on climate change through the distribution of lapel buttons featuring a graphic symbol, designed by Glaser. The logo represents the earth as seen from outer space, with the lush green disappearing into an ominous black. To reinforce the sense of a dying planet, the green swath is printed in ghostly glow-in-the-dark ink. Like his iconic “I (heart) NY” image, Glaser’s climate change logo is powerful in its directness and simplicity.
SVA is spearheading this social awareness campaign by offering Glaser’s dying planet logo as a lapel button ($5 for 5 buttons) so wearers can visibly express their concern for the planet. Up until now, the global warming deniers have been the most vocal in expressing their views, while those who believe that the climate is changing have mostly relied on scientific papers, panels of experts citing data, and Power Point-laden documentaries (a la Al Gore) to present their reasoned arguments. It’s time to be seen. If enough people around the world are seen wearing Glaser’s button, politicians and policymakers cannot easily dismiss these constituents as a minority of alarmists.
To promote the seventh and final season of the “Mad Men” series, AMC asked the acclaimed Milton Glaser to design a poster that encapsulated the late 1960s. Set in a New York advertising agency, the popular TV drama spans the decade of the Sixties, beginning with the Eisenhower-Kennedy years when women wore bouffant hairdos and sweater sets with pearls and men wore grey flannel suits and hats, all the way through to the youth-obsessed counterculture era of mind-altering drugs, mini-skirts, bell-
The covers of most university catalogs typically show photos of the campus or students lounging around the quad, or just present a plain typographic title. The covers for the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension catalog are an exception to the norm. Since 1990, they have featured the works of several of the world’s best-known graphic designers, beginning with Paul Rand.
Rob Forbes, founder of Design Within Reach, has founded another company – Public Bikes. To introduce consumers to his new venture, Forbes recruited 27 world-renowned designers and illustrators to create art posters around the concept of “public.” All of these posters are being gathered into a book called “Public Works,” sold as individual posters, and shown in exhibitions slated for San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.
Forbes, an avid biker, urban dweller and environmentalist, explains the impetus for his Public Works project was to bring greater attention to the critical issues of public space, access and livability of cities. “In recent decades, our cities have been evolving from manufacturing and industrial centers into cultural hubs,” Forbes says. “The 20th century movement that encouraged people to leave cities for the suburbs has now been reversed. For the first time in our history the majority of the world’s population lives in cities, and this trend appears irreversible….People choose cities for what they offer: connections with people, ideas, stimulation, opportunity, creativity, and diversity. Our public spaces should facilitate these connections, not stifle them.… We believe that more of our urban streets and sidewalks should be reclaimed for walking and bicycling, and that our public spaces should be developed for better human interaction and conversation.”
Since the DC Comics logo (the DC stands for Detective Comics) first appeared in April 1940, it has gone through more quick changes than Superman — four logo revisions in the 1970s alone. Now DC Comics has unveiled yet another logo update. This time designed by Landor Associates.
The new logo, which launches in March, shows the “D” peeling back to reveal the hidden “C,” suggesting the dual identity of the DC Entertainment superheroes. Designed to look three-dimensional and be adaptable to different media, the new logo allows for color changes and texture and image changes within the “C.” It is easily animated and quickly customizable too.
Fear of failure was the theme of this year’s student work exhibition at Stockholm’s Berghs School of Communication. As part of the program, Berghs asked some of the world’s most renowned and prolific designers, artists and writers to share their thoughts on the subject. Included in these interviews were Milton Glaser, Paulo Coelho, Stefan Sagmeister, Rei Inamoto, Michael Wolff, and Lis Johles. Here designer Milton Glaser explains why it is so importance to “embrace failure.”
The “I [heart] NY” logo that Milton Glaser designed for the New York Commerce Commission in 1975 has spawned thousands of knock-offs, take-offs and parodies over the years. Cities worldwide have unapologetically stolen the concept, replacing NY with their own name, and organizations have swapped out the heart for a rebus that suits their own message. Recently, The New York Times invited readers to submit their own interpretation of the iconic symbol and hundreds of people, including Milton Glaser himself, sent in their take on the famous logo. What’s wonderful about Glaser’s logo is its conciseness and simplicity. Graphically, it strips away the superfluous to plainly reveal the essence of the message. That’s true of most of these submitted versions too; replacing the heart reveals a whole new meaning.
What can we say, we have always been inspired by Milton. He is a born teacher that always inspires. In 2006, Chris from C. Coy shot this short video of Milton Glaser sketching a portrait of William Shakespeare and musing about how the act of drawing makes him conscious of what he is looking at and focuses his mind on the world around him. In addition to the thoughtfulness of his comments, it’s impressive to see that he draws confidently without ever pausing or erasing — or losing his train of thought.
The recent publication of Peter Richardson’s “A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America” evokes memories of when San Francisco dominated pop culture and counterculture.
The 1960s gave birth to what became known as “the San Francisco Sound” (the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone, Santana and others), the hippie movement, vocal anti-Vietnam War protests, and some ground-breaking magazines including Rolling Stone (1967), Berkeley Barb (1965) and later Mother Jones (1976). The magazine that preceded and influenced them all was Ramparts.
Founded in 1962 as a Catholic literary quarterly, Ramparts soon became the muckraking voice of the New Left when Warren Hinckle took over as executive editor and Robert Scheer joined as managing editor. Noam Chomsky, Seymour Hersh, Hunter Thompson, Eldridge Cleaver, Christopher Hitchens, Ken Kesey, Allen Ginsberg, Susan Sontag, Erica Jong, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jann Wenner, and Adam Hochschild were just a few of the noteworthy writers who contributed to the editorial content.
Whether the delivery is graphic or spoken, Milton Glaser can be relied on to pare away the superfluous and focus on what’s relevant in the most direct, thoughtful and inspiring way. Today he celebrates his 80th birthday and a 60+ year career that is still going strong. A new documentary “Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight” directed by Wendy Keys, now playing in select U.S. locations, provides convincing evidence that he is worthy of being called the most influential graphic artist of our time. It’s a must-see. And here’s something that we consider a must-read – a talk that Glaser gave in 200l to the London AIGA titled “Ten Things I Have Learned.” Great food for thought.
10 Things I Have Learned
by Milton Glaser
1. You can only work for people you like.
This is a curious rule and it took me a long time to learn because in fact at the beginning of my practice I felt the opposite. Professionalism required that you didn’t particularly like the people that you worked for or at least maintained an arms length relationship to them, which meant that I never had lunch with a client or saw them socially. Then some years ago I realised that the opposite was true. I discovered that all the work I had done that was meaningful and significant came out of an affectionate relationship with a client. And I am not talking about professionalism; I am talking about affection. I am talking about a client and you sharing some common ground. That in fact your view of life is someway congruent with the client, otherwise it is a bitter and hopeless struggle.