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.
This poster has a history that spans decades and continents. It started in 1952 when American photographer Harold Feinstein created a photomontage of Brooklyn’s Coney Island Boardwalk that looked like a music score. Sixty years later on the other side of the planet, someone at Havas Worldwide Turkey in Istanbul flashed on Feinstein’s photomontage while brainstorming ideas for a print ad for Acik Radyo, the only non-state-owned radio station in Turkey. Acik Radyo covers global social and cultural issues and airs all types of music from around the world. Its motto is “Open to all sounds of the universe.” Feinstein’s artistic photomontage perfectly expressed the theme “Music of the People.” The poster was a big hit and went on to win multiple prestigious international honors, including the Cannes Gold Lion and Epica Grand Prix award.
THNKR is a new YouTube channel launched by Radical Media last July. It gives viewers access to extraordinary people, stories and ideas that are transforming the world. Its programming lineup is divided into four categories – Bookd exploring noteworthy books, Prodigies profiling young geniuses, Podium exploring the art of public speaking, and Epiphany featuring renowned thought leaders. Each episode presents provocative thoughts intended to “change your mind.” Here, Maira Kalman, visual columnist for the New York Times, talks about the differences she sees between thinking and feeling, emphasizing her points with her delightful illustrations.
Complex technological concepts can be intimidating and daunting to most people, which is why this animated diagram is so appealing. Directed and produced by Buck/Antfood for the NYTimes.com, the video uses simple geometric shapes and a soft palette of colors to explain how the turbine-free wind power technology proposed by Dr. Francis Moon of Cornell University works. In just one minute and three seconds, it explains the problem, solution and advantages of turbine-free wind power. The more traditional way of telling the story may have been through photographs of wind farms, industrial shots of real turbines, disturbing images of maimed birds, graphs of wind velocity in urban areas, a detailed explanation of how the mechanism produces power through a grid of pads that attach to piezoelectric materials, yada yada. Instead, this animation tells a seamless story in a cinematic way.
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.
This one-minute commercial was produced by Leo Burnett to announce the launch of the Turkish edition of The New York Times. Actual pages from the first edition of the newspaper were used to “wallpaper” the façade of recognizable landmarks in Manhattan and Istanbul, giving viewers a quick tour from New York Harbor to the Bosphorus. Notice how the financial pages were used to create the NYSE and Wall Street and the entertainment pages Times Square, etc. The clever ad was directed by Quba Michalski, with 3D and compositing by Dreambox.
In an age when the rest of the world has given up on Blackletter typography, also known as Old English or Fraktur lettering style, newspapers haven’t. Newspapers began using Blackletter for their nameplates around the mid-19th century because it printed dark and dense, important when printing on crude groundwood paper. The letter forms also had an air of authority and incontestable truth about them, as if taken from ancient manuscripts hand-drawn by scribes or a bible set with movable type carved by Johannes Gutenberg himself. The Chicago Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times are just a few newspapers that set their name in stylized Blackletter. Interestingly, the New York Times “T” Magazine, the ultimate word on contemporary fashion and design, did not try to buck tradition and choose a 21st century font when it began publishing in 2004. Instead, it let artists and designers reimagine its Blackletter “T” logo in their chosen medium. For many of us, the “T” art has become the favorite feature of the magazine.
If you have something to hide, design badly and write poorly. Set the text in small type, no leading and wide measure, and use mind-numbingly dull legal language. This approach all but screams, “We don’t want you to read this, but we are required by law to tell you.”
Whether intentional or not, this is the impression given by credit card issuers when disclosing fees and terms. Cardholders who don’t immediately throw out these “envelope stuffers” are often stunned to read about a plethora of penalties, hidden fees and compounded interest. What’s more, the majority of card issuers also claim the right to increase APR or change credit terms “at any time for any reason.”