July 2, 2020

#5 Milton


Milton Glaser is no longer with us and that makes us unhappy, but thanks to him we will never see design, art or Bob Dylan in the same way, and that makes us very happy.

This issue will try to help those who don't know who he was understand his importance and to those who did know him, remember the character that when it comes to discussing what is art and what is design, becomes the most confusing.

“There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.”


One of the great laws of marketing and communication is that a brand needs to be REPEATED to be effective.
In the mid 70's the state of New York developed an advertising campaign with the agency Wells Rich Greene to increase tourism in the city. NYC was not what it is today.
The slogan: "I love New York", the designer: Milton Glaser. 

The most repeated logo in the history of mankind was designed by him, so many times it seems it was always there, it seems obvious, easy or simple, but it could not have been designed any other way, it broke the mold.

"Forget what I presented you, I have something much better”.

Milton presented a typographic option that was quickly approved, but another idea was left lying around and a few days later he called the agency to do another presentation, the answer: "No!” The first option was already approved by the client. Our hero insisted. 43 years later, we are still talking about the logo.

“I’m flabbergasted by what happened to this little, simple nothing of an idea”

Milton Glaser did this work pro bono, out of all the billions of dollars in merchandising this logo generates to this day, he never got a single dollar.

Is it art if it's in a museum?

In 1966 the CBS label released a Greatest Hits album. Inside the album, folded, you could find this poster designed by Glaser. Today it's exhibited at the MoMa. The connection of seemingly unconnected ideas once connected cannot be separated. Milton describes creativity in those terms, see and create a connection. An artist, a designer, a creative relies on that inspiration or process. This is one he did for one of his most recognised designs. On a trip to Mexico, Milton came across a graffiti on a wall that caught his attention, the typography only copied some features of the letters and was still legible. It was from this that he designed the "baby teeth". In an interview about this poster, Milton elaborates on his design process. The idea of using Dylan's profile came from a Duchamp self-portrait that struck him for its powerful simplicity, no technology or anything, just a profile. He added some psychedelic hair in a style inspired by Islamic art.

“We were excited by the very idea that we could use anything in the visual history of humankind as influence”

Everyone wants to be an artist

Designer or artist? We often debate about this matter, what is the difference between one and another, in which cases the line is blurry... and if it is necessary or not to separate them. Milton always lived on that fine line.

In a very interesting talk with Debbie Millman they talk about the difference between design and art.

"The role of art is to transform the species and the role of design is to accomplish a task. Although as we know, paradoxically sometimes a work of design is also a work of art"

Milton Glaser

June 26th 1929 - June 26th 2020

(you have to be neat to die on your birthday)

Thanks for reading!

Do you want to recibe this in your mail?

Every once in a while, we send a newsletter about design. The stuff we love, hate, and love to hate.

Success.Thank you!!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
473 agency LLC | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Webflow