Milton Glaser is one of the most acclaimed graphic designers of the United States. His work for the past 50 years has shaped visual arts in publishing, branding, and interior design. He is also recognized for his inspiring principles in creating meaningful art. To know more about this extraordinary artist-intellectual, here are the following facts:
1. Glaser was born to Hungarian immigrants, in the South Bronx.
- His father ran a dry cleaning business and his mother was a homemaker.
- Glaser lived in the first district inhabited by interracial couples. Most of his neighbors were of Eastern European descent.
2. A paper bag inspired him to become an artist.
- During his childhood, a cousin carrying a paper bag, asked Glaser if he wished to see a bird. The bird was not inside the bag, as he assumed, but drawn on the side with pencil
- The young Milton, in his amazement, considered this as a miracle. He since then dedicated his life to moving others with art.
3. He was a founding member of three influential design companies.
- He established Push Pin Studios, Walter Bernard Consultancy (originally WBMG), and Milton Glaser, Inc. Notable clients include The Washington Post, the World Health Organization, and Target.
- Push Pin stopped publishing in 1980. The two other companies remain among the most awarded and notable design firms.
4. He designed the “I Love New York” logo.
- This iconic image is the most imitated logo in the world. Glaser drew it with a red crayon on the back of a torn envelope.
- He updated the image after September 11. The heart now has a burn mark, and he added the words “More Than Ever” below.
5. Glaser also illustrated children’s storybooks.
- He believes picture books contain an inherent charm and endless possibilities. He considers them a “place for adventure and creativity”.
- Glaser illustrated three books written by his wife: “The Alphazeds,” “If Apples Had Teeth,” and “The Big Race: Starring Tommy Tortoise and Harry Hare.”
6. He believes artists have a moral obligation.
- Glaser denounces art used for manipulation and “crooked advertising”. He cited misleading nutritional values in food packaging as an example.
- He sees audiences as citizens of a community, instead of consumers. He said art provides the world with an alternate reality, according to its needs.
7. Glaser teaches with authenticity.
- He is the current Chairman of the Board at the School of Visual Arts. He has been teaching at the reputable art school for more than half a century.
- Glaser believes teaching is not about instruction, but embodying what one teaches. He said, a good teacher is one who “has an idea of what life is that you admire and want to emulate”.
With admirable skill and ethos, Milton Glaser is one of the most beloved designers in the world. His works and teachings continue to shape contemporary graphic design.
To learn more about other inspiring graphic designers, check out their interesting facts here.