Milton Glaser by Gayatri Mittal

Milton Glaser is a graphic designer, born on 26th June 1929. He is best known for his I love New York logo, his Bob Dylan poster and the Brooklyn Brewery logo. Immensely creative and articulate, he is a modern renaissance man — one of a rare breed of intellectual designer-illustrators, who brings a depth of understanding and conceptual thinking, combined with a diverse richness of visual language, to his highly inventive and individualistic work (1). Throughout his career, Glaser has been a prolific creator of posters and prints. He has had a major influence on contemporary illustration and design.

In 1954 Glaser was a founder, and president, of pushpin studios formed with several of his Cooper Union classmates. Glaser’s work is characterized by directness, simplicity and originality. He uses any medium or style to solve the problem at hand. His style ranges from primitive to avant-garde in his countless book jackets, album covers, advertisements and direct mail pieces and magazine illustrations. He started his own studio, Milton Glaser, Inc, in 1974. This led to his involvement with an increasingly wide diversity of projects. He is an influential figure in both the design and education communities and has contributed essays and granted interviews extensively on design.

A lot of things have influenced his work. Especially by examining the world around him which has changed a lot. It has caused him to examine his role as a citizen and think about a designer’s impact. After 9/11, he created a poster ‘I LOVE NEW YORK more than ever’, which seemed to reflect what most people were experiencing during that tragedy. The things that happened were an injury and his feelings for the city had deepened and that was same for almost everyone, which resulted in the poster. About a year after, he produced a series of buttons for the nation. They expressed ideas that he felt should be made explicit.


What the Designer Ought to Be: Let the designer be bold in all sure things, and fearful in dangerous things; let him avoid all faulty treatments and practices. He ought to be gracious to the client, considerate to his associates, cautious in his prognostications. Let him be modest, dignified, gentle, pitiful, and merciful; not covetous nor an extortionist of money; but rather let his reward be according to his work, to the means of the client, to the quality of the issue, and to his own dignity(2).

Art has been able to change the nature of people. A woman interested in Buddhism asked him to design stationary for her. “In the course of doing the work, I made a discovery. A folded piece of paper could operate like a printing press. There are three faces of the Buddha on the left hand side of the page printed in red yellow and blue. When folded the faces align to create a full color head of the Buddha that smiles at you through the envelope” (6). His client asked him to add a line at the bottom of the page, “when discarding please burn.”(3) After all, you don’t want to throw the Buddha in the garbage. The most significant value of any work or design is in its effect on the world.

Drawing is Thinking is Milton Glaser’s latest book. He compares drawing with technology. Designers are by definition both victims and participants, defining and being defined by their times. There is nothing more direct than drawing. I always tell students that when I look at someone and think, ‘I have to draw that person”(4) (5). Drawing changes the brain in the search of being creative.

He believed that relationship of dark to light is unavoidable while creating imagery. Throughout his design process, Glaser always believed in re-creating, self-evaluating and most importantly different reactions to situations. He always believed in making things effective than its service to business. (Accessed; 29th April, 2010) (Accessed; 29th April, 2010) (Accessed; 28th April, 2010) (Accessed; 28th April, 2010) (Accessed; 30th April, 2010) (Accessed; 29th April, 2010) (Accessed; 29th April, 2010) (Accessed; 2nd May, 2010) (Accessed; 2nd May, 2010)


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