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I ♥ I ♥ NY
September 5, 2013 6:43 AM   Subscribe

By now, the story is well known. A man sits in the backseat of a cab, sketching on a notepad as night falls over a crumbling city. He scribbles the letter I. He draws a heart. And then an N, and then a Y. Right away he knows he’s got something. This is it, he thinks. This is the campaign. The man was a designer named Milton Glaser. The city was New York. The year was 1977.

Since 1977 "I ♥ NY" (and the related jingle campaign, for NY State incidentally, not the city) the logo has inspired a host of imitations, remixes, and parodies, many of which received cease and desist letters from the Tourism board. Milton Glaser even got one in 2001. They apologized, but Milton wasn't that hurt, just confused and delighted that decades later his simple design is still, somehow, not boring.

Glaser previously
posted by Potomac Avenue (25 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome, thanks for this. Nowadays, a I <3 NY shirt is the best way to spot a tourist, but it's great to know the history of it all.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:48 AM on September 5, 2013


Not living anywhere near New York as a child, my first exposure to this was the "I Love Sodom" skit on Saturday Night Live, which confused the hell out of me.

Pleased to note from the wikipedia article that the city actually sued them over that, and lost.
posted by Naberius at 6:57 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


So now I am wondering what inspired "Virgina is for Lovers".
posted by three blind mice at 7:05 AM on September 5, 2013


I was in NYC the week after the Boston Marathon bombings and they were giving away "NY <3 Boston" shirts in Times Square. It was a nice gesture, even if it was a marketing thing.

I don't think they still <3 us.
posted by bondcliff at 7:12 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


That slogan always reminds me of Loving v Virginia, and not in a good F YEAH CIVIL RIGHTS kind of way.
posted by elizardbits at 7:13 AM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


So now I am wondering what inspired "Virgina is for Lovers".

That's Virginia. Virgina is for Fuckers.
posted by pracowity at 7:14 AM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


An I <3 NY shirt is not the best way to spot a tourist.

No, it is the stopping. At the top of the subway entrance, at the doors of the subway, right in the middle of the street, at the top of any stairs. Always with the stopping.
posted by sweetkid at 7:22 AM on September 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


I always say to them "it's a sideWALK not a sideSTAND."
posted by nevercalm at 7:28 AM on September 5, 2013


I don't know whether it's just especially catchy or whether it's because I have heard it so often, but the "I... love New York..." theme is now gliding through my mind again and again. I bet Gershwin could have done something extremely cool with it, but I guess Gershwin could have done something extremely cool with anything.
posted by pracowity at 7:34 AM on September 5, 2013


"Virgina is for Lovers"
No Freudian slips here, folks. Move on.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:40 AM on September 5, 2013


Man, that's some bad undergraduate-style writing in that wikipedia article: "the placement of the logo on plain white T-shirts readily sold in the city has widely circulated the appearance of the image, making it a commonly recognized symbol." The appearance of the image? What does that even mean?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:47 AM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not gonna lie - seeing this in late 2001 choked me up a couple times.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:53 AM on September 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


The appearance of the image? What does that even mean?

{{sofixit}}
posted by goethean at 8:15 AM on September 5, 2013


The first article says Glaser designed the Brooklyn Brewery labels. That's pretty awesome.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:16 AM on September 5, 2013


Also not gonna lie - I do in fact own a "I [heart] NY" t-shirt.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:22 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, now an Iheartnyc shirt is ironic.
posted by sweetkid at 8:23 AM on September 5, 2013


There was a version of that 1977 commercial I saw on TV as a child in Milwaukee back then that seemed to feature NYC itself. There were various New York City folks singing the "IIIIII love New Yooooorrrk!" line, and that's all it was, I think. Maybe there was a VO. What's kept me remembering this commercial all these years was that at one point, the cast of The Wiz were all in costume, sort of bundled up together in front of the camera, and they sang the line in harmony from their stage. It was so soulful, just that simple line, it's stayed with me to this day.

I was hoping that that was the linked commercial, but now that I've seen it, I remember that one too.

And, just as a weird aside, I notice that while people who live in the other boroughs can't really get away with wearing any touristy/booster sort of garb for their part of the city, people in Brooklyn can and do wear clothing that says BROOKLYN, and it's a good thing.
posted by droplet at 8:27 AM on September 5, 2013


people in Brooklyn can and do wear clothing that says BROOKLYN, and it's a good thing

When I was in Australia I saw SO MANY Brooklyn shirts

Cause we're the best I guess.
posted by sweetkid at 8:29 AM on September 5, 2013


people in Brooklyn can and do wear clothing that says BROOKLYN, and it's a good thing.

That's 'cuz Brooklyn is now a brand, you see. Or it's at least trying to become one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:48 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was a version of that 1977 commercial I saw on TV as a child in Milwaukee back then that seemed to feature NYC itself. There were various New York City folks singing the "IIIIII love New Yooooorrrk!" line, and that's all it was, I think.

The New York State Archives has put a bunch of their I Love NY campaigns on Youtube maybe it's on there?

Or maybe you were thinking the cast of Cats?
posted by jeremias at 9:13 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


...the logo has inspired a host of imitations, remixes, and parodies...

Here's mine.

posted by mmrtnt at 12:48 PM on September 5, 2013


The SNL skit
posted by gimonca at 3:59 PM on September 5, 2013


jeremias, yes, it's there! Thank you.

It's this one. So sad the audio didn't hold up! I watched all five of that series of ads, and I didn't recall the others, even with them bursting with mega-star power.
posted by droplet at 4:40 PM on September 5, 2013


The Envelope Glaser drew the back of the cab. Now in the collection of MoMA.

This wasn't just some guy in the back of a cab. Glaser was already a design legend. I remember studying his work in the early 1970s. I remember decades ago, reading a story from another designer. He was traveling deep in the jungle of Brazil, to photograph native tribes that had no contact with modern civilization. After weeks of travel inland from the Amazon, he made contact with a tribe living in huts. When he was invited inside one of the huts, he saw Glaser's 1966 Dylan Poster hanging on the wall. He said it was the only modern artifact he could find in the entire village.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:01 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Design legend indeed. DC Comics Brooklyn Brewery New York Magazine. To name only a few.

Consummate artist, and an excellent teacher as well. I had the privilege of being one of his design students, and while his skills alone quite squarely put him into genius category, it also needs to be said that he's a kind and generous man.
posted by Hickeystudio at 1:49 AM on September 6, 2013


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