It is difficult to imagine that something as ubiquitous as the I Love New York logo was designed completely for free. But that is exactly what graphic designer Milton Glaser did in 1976 when he created his first simple sketch with red crayon on the back of an envelope for the New York Chamber of Commerce. The final logo, set in a rounded slab serif font aptly named American Typewriter, would ultimately become one of the most internationally recognizable icons. I Love New York helped boost the city from its infamous 1970s image as dark, dirty and dangerous to a popular (and profitable) campaign that New Yorkers and tourists alike could identify with.
A similar spirit of compassion and patriotism embodies I [Heart] NY More Than Ever. Glaser, a National Design Award winner (2004) who has worked nonstop for over six decades, reinterpreted his original design after the tragedy on September 11, 2001. Scarred with a small black smudge on the heart with the added words “more than ever,” this poster represents the injury inflicted upon a community. Further text at the bottom reads, “Be generous. Your city needs you. This poster is not for sale,” alluding to the proceeds that are entirely donated to New York charities supporting those affected by the events.
The concept came to Glaser just one day after the attacks in a reaction meant to revive a shaken community and begin the city’s physical and emotional restoration. It was printed in the New York Daily News and subsequently broadcast on WNYC as a fundraiser, garnering $190,000. But it was Glaser himself who encouraged it to be reprinted widely and freely distributed --a testament to the design’s cultural impact. With his heart in the right place, Glaser’s revision renders the celebrated symbol even more intimate twelve years later as a city’s collective heart continues to heal.