Milton Glaser, Award-Winning Graphic Designer of ‘I Heart NY’ Logo, Dies at 91

Ellise Shafer

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Milton Glaser, the renowned graphic designer who created the iconic “I Heart NY” logo, died on June 26, which was his 91st birthday. According to The New York Times, his wife, Shirley Glaser, said a stroke was the cause of death, although he also suffered from renal failure.

Glaser is well-known for his 1966 psychedelic poster of Bob Dylan and for designing the logos for DC Comics, Brooklyn Brewery and Stony Brook University. He also co-founded New York Magazine in 1968 with Clay Felker.

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Glaser was born on June 26, 1929, in New York’s Bronx borough. He attended the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan and graduated from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1954. Shortly thereafter, Glaser founded Push Pin Studios, along with Seymour Chwast, Reynold Ruffins and Edward Sorel, which became a leader in untraditional graphic design for the next 20 years. Glaser eventually left Push Pin in 1975, a year after he had established his own design firm, Milton Glaser Inc.

In 1966, Glaser was commissioned to design a poster for Dylan’s album, “Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits.” Although it was one of Glaser’s first posters, it quickly became iconic due to his colorful and psychedelic design of Dylan’s hair, which was inspired by the Art Nouveau movement. Glaser went on to design around 400 posters over the course of his career.

Felker and Glaser founded New York Magazine in 1968 to document all things New York City. He co-wrote one of its most popular columns, “The Underground Gourmet,” for seven years and eventually left the magazine in 1977 when he was hired by the city to design a logo in hopes of increasing tourism. Inspired by Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” image, Glaser created the iconic “I Heart NY” logo, which has gone on to earn New York state around $30 million per year. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Glaser revamped the logo to read “I Heart NY More Than Ever.”

In 1983, Glaser formed the publication design firm WBMG with Walter Bernard. Together, they redesigned many newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post. He also published several books centered around graphic design, including “The Milton Glaser Poster Book” in 1977, “Art Is Work” in 2000 and “Drawing Is Thinking” in 2008. He often taught at the School of Visual Arts and had a documentary made about him in 2008, “Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight.”

Glaser has won numerous awards over the years for his revolutionary graphic design work, including a National Design Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 2004 and the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2009.

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