This 1976 presentation board of the “I ♥ NY” logo by Milton Glaser is part of the exhibition, Standard Deviations, which showcases objects and designs in the New York Museum of Modern Art’s collection that belong to families, including an important recent acquisition of 23 digital typefaces, on view for the first time. The Architecture and Design galleries were some of my favorites at the MoMA.
Glaser compares this rudimentary rebus to a declaration of love carved into a tree trunk. At a time when fear of crime was depressing tourism in New York City, the New York State Department of Commerce (in particular Deputy Commissioner Bill Doyle), with input from Governor Hugh Carey, commissioned the advertising agency Wells Rich Greene to develop a positive campaign about the city and Glaser, a well known designer, to capture it graphically. Designed pro bono for a three-month campaign, the wildly successful design has been copied and reinterpreted millions of times all over the world. Glaser’s rebus became a particularly strong icon for New York City and one of the most frequently imitated logos in history, a template for declarations of love for multitudes of other people, places, and things. The design was copyrighted after about ten years of open use. – MoMA Caption
This article is part of a series of posts about my visit to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Click here to read the complete series.