1 July 2020
Tributes have poured in for Milton Glaser, who has died in New York on his 91st birthday, Friday June 26th, 2020. Says British graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook on Facebook:
"One of the most influential designers in the history of design. I can't think of a designer who will be more missed by our community."
For those who are not familiar with Milton Glaser, I’ve gathered some facts and put them into a timeline:
June 26, 1929: Milton Glaser is born in the Bronx, to Eugene and Eleanor (Bergman) Glaser, immigrants from Hungary. His father owned a dry-cleaning and tailoring shop; his mother was a homemaker.
Late 1940s: After high school, while working at a package-design company, Glaser tried to get into Pratt Institute. After failing entrance exam twice, he finally applied to the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and was accepted, so studied there instead.
1954: Glaser set up Push Pin Studios with three Cooper Union classmates. He remained at this successful studio for over 20 years.
1957: He married Shirley Girton, his replacement at the package-design company that first hired him. They remained married until his death, over 60 years later.
1967: One of his most famous works is created, a Bob Dylan poster, inserted in Dylan’s Greatest Hits album (see above).
1968: Glaser and editor Clay Felker found New York magazine, where he was president and design director until 1977. The visual format that still largely survives to this day.
1974: Glaser started his own design firm, Milton Glaser Inc. He remained working here regularly and productively up until his death.
1977: Probably his most famous work was created, the “I ♥ NY” logo, part of a campaign to promote tourism in New York State.
1983: He teamed up with Walter Bernard to launch WBMG, a publication design firm that created more than 50 magazines, newspapers and periodicals globally.
Late 80s: The logo and packaging for Brooklyn Brewery is created, still in existence today.
2004: He received a lifetime achievement award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (now the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum).
2009: He became the first graphic designer to receive the National Medal of Arts.
2014: Designed the prolific poster for the final season of the television series “Mad Men.”
He taught graphic design at the School of Visual Arts for over 60 years.
He has never used a computer (though his designers do).
A quote from one of his last interviews, a few weeks before his death:
“I’m trying to acquire a new studio next door to a new apartment we bought. So that is the height of optimism, to buy a new apartment at the age of 90.”
Some of my favourite quotes:
"There is nothing more pleasurable to me than drawing and discovering I could do things I didn't know I was capable of."
"I don't think of my work as a series of pieces. Instead, I always think of what I learned from doing the piece and where it has led me."
"As I often quote Picasso, 'once you've mastered something, you can abandon it.'"
6 April 2020
Unlike artists or architects, most people don’t usually know the names of famous graphic designers. Though they usually know their work. Of course everyone knows the I Love New York logo (1976) and the Bob Dylan poster (1966), above. But do they know they were designed by the famous graphic designer, Milton Glaser?
His work aside, there are a number of things that are quite remarkable about Glaser’s career…
He was born and lived in New York City his entire life.
He has been in the business for over 65 years.
He has been teaching graphic design at the School of Visual Arts for 62 years.
To this day, he reports to his Manhattan studio five days a week, even on this 90th birthday, which he celebrated last summer. He has no intention of ever retiring.
He has never used a computer.
That’s all for now!
6 December 2019
As you know, I really enjoy going to Central St Martin’s to give the occasional graphic design workshop and when I am there, I cannot help but compare this school to Vancouver’s big art and design school, Emily Carr, where we went. Though so much is the same, so much has also changed since the olden days when we were studying, about a million years ago now.
In particular, there has always been a lot international students, but now they seem to be from a much more broad array of countries, which is amazing. So many students from countries all over the world. Also, there are so many more openly transgender students, which is also amazing. Queer and trans terminology is always changing, which shows how much things are progressing.
I know that I am comparing London today with Vancouver in the past, but I do think that the times they are a changin, and it’s so great to see when it is for the best.
15 November 2019
So exciting to get this in the post: a gift of original drawings from our friend and client, Brigitte. They are of costume designs from the musical Oklahoma. So gorgeous.
28 October 2017
I know that you are nosy like I am and love a snoop into someone's house or studio. I just read an article about famous artists studios you can visit. So, noted. I've only been to Barbara Hepworth's studio in St Ives (image above). It has been left painstakingly exactly as she had left it the day she died - including the date on the wall calendar.
What I find interesting is that artists tend to have their studios a part of their homes, and tend to live there for many many years. Designers, on the other hand, tend to have their studios away from their homes, and tend to be much more transient.
For me, where I work is really important. I am fortunate to have my own studio at the top floor of my house, where I love to work, as I can really concentrate. It is so quiet, peaceful and comfortable. However, sometimes it can be too much so! Therefore, I also have a shared desk space, for the community aspect. Finally, I find I am also really productive working in hotel bars or restaurants. I am quite familiar with the hotels of London, though I've never actually stayed in any of them!
9 Famous Artists' Studios You Can Visit