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Open Manifesto

Love has to be earned.

An essay by P.S.

{15th of October 2008}

 

Few people seem to remember that the ‘I (Heart) New York’ logo, which was designed by Milton Glaser in 1977, was actually developed as part of an advertising campaign for tourism of New York State. 

 

The advertising campaign, “I love New York” ran commercials on major television stations throughout the state. The television commercials featured pictures of New York State’s natural beauty, the Catskill mountains with Fall [Autumn] foliage, Niagara Falls, lakes in the Adirondack Mountains, and a quick glimpse of New York City itself. 

 

Over the years the ‘I (Heart) NY’ logo has become ubiquitous, in part due to its infinitely repetitive use on tee shirts, coffee mugs, and pencils sold in New York City Airports and in New York City novelty shops. But also because of the simplicity and power of the logo itself. The by-product of all this: to the general public the logo came to mean New York City, and not New York State, as it was originally intended.

 

I don’t believe anyone sees the ‘I (Heart) NY’ logo and thinks of Niagara Falls and the Finger Lakes, but you were supposed to. Even though the logo clearly states ‘I (Heart) NY’ not ‘I (Heart) NYC’, it is the city which comes to mind.

 

Recently ‘New York City’ decided it was time to invent a whole other logo for its own use, because New York State still owns the ‘I (Heart) NY’ mark. In particular, the City wanted to claim certain recent improvement initiatives. In order to do so they felt they needed a logo. But the new NYC logo, designed by Wolf Olins, is dumb, not because of what it looks like—any typeface would really do—it’s dumb because nobody relates to it in any emotional way.

 

(The rest of this article is available, in print, in Open Manifesto #5)

Biography

Paula Scher has been at the forefront of graphic design for more than three decades. Iconic, smart and unabashedly populist, her images have entered into the American vernacular.

 

Scher has been a principal of the internationally distinguished design firm Pentagram since 1991. In 1998 Scher was named to the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, and in 2000 she received the prestigious Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design. She has served on the national board of AIGA [American Institute of Graphic Arts] and was president of its New York chapter from 1998 to 2000. In 2001 she received the profession’s highest honor, the AIGA Medal, in recognition of her distinguished achievements and contributions to the field. She is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale.