In February 1975, New York City was in dire straits. With a billion-dollar deficit and bankruptcy looming, 300,000 workers freshly laid off, crime on the rise, and a garbage-collection strike, the city was in desperate need of an injection of hope. Governor Hugh Carey pointed out that, despite everything, people still loved New York. The New York State Department of Commerce and Deputy Commissioner William S. Doyle commissioned the advertising agency Wells Rich Greene to develop a campaign to repair the city’s image and boost tourism. Milton Glaser, a native New Yorker and a titan of design, was asked to capture the campaign graphically.
I ❤ NY is set in American Typewriter typeface. Glaser compared it to a declaration of love carved into a tree trunk. It has become one of the world’s most recognized and frequently imitated logos—a template for declarations of love for multitudes of people, places, and things. It is a registered trademark owned by the New York State Department of Economic Development, which has had rights to the mark since its first public use in 1977. It represents New York State tourism and is used to promote travel to the entire state. With I ❤ NY, Glaser gave the world the gold standard for communication design: a message simple, arresting, feeling, and therefore universal. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, he created a customized version of the logo to read “I ❤ NY More Than Ever.” Glaser passed away on June 26, 2020, while the city—and the world—were once again immersed in multiple crises. He was working on a graphic response to this new predicament: a bold treatment of the word “together.”
Gallery label from 2021