How The ‘I Heart NY’ Logo Transcended Marketing And Endures 4 Decades After Its Debut

by MR Magazine Staff

Sixteen years ago, Milton Glaser was sitting at his usual wooden table at his design studio on 32nd Street, looking out the window at the black smoke billowing from Lower Manhattan, where the World Trade Center Towers had stood until the previous afternoon. Like most New Yorkers, the famous graphic designer was shocked and numb from the 9/11 terror attacks. But unlike them, Glaser had the means of making an immediate difference. Breaking out the famous I ♥ NY logo, Glaser singed the left side of the heart and added the words “more than ever.” It was, he would later explain, a reflection of “what all of us were experiencing after the tragedy, a deepening of our sense of love and commitment to the city that is our home.” Tragedy notwithstanding, those sentiments were not new to Glaser. They had, actually, led him to create the original I ♥ NY some 25 years before. In 1976, Glaser was a young designer making his name in a city teetering on the brink. Having barely staved off bankruptcy the year before, New York reeled from bad headlines (658,147 violent crimes were reported that year) and middle-class flight to the suburbs. Desperate to reverse its falling tourism revenue, the New York State Department of Commerce decided that a PR campaign was in order. Ad agency Wells Rich Greene had already cooked up the “I love New York” slogan, and jingle king Steve Karmen had set it to music for TV spots. Glaser was tapped to draw the logo. Read more at Adweek.