In Memoriam: Milton Glaser A’51

Milton Glaser A’53 passed away on Friday, 6/26/2020 which was his 91st birthday. He was an alumnus of The Cooper Union, a member of the CU hall of Fame, and also a member of the Cooper Union Board of Trustees. He is part of a Cooper Couple. His wife, Shirley Girton Glaser, graduated from the CU School of Art in 1956. He and Shirley collaborated on the children’s books “If Apples Had Teeth” (1960), “The Alphazeds” (2003) and “The Big Race” (2005).

Milton Glaser, with his Cooper classmates Seymour Chwast A’51, Reynold Ruffins A’51 and Simms Taback A’53, co-founded Pushpin Studios, a graphic design studio that helped define the modern era, before setting out on his own. He is credited with changing the vocabulary of American visual culture in the 1960s and 1970s. 1967 poster of Bob Dylan is iconic, with nearly 6 million sold. He produced the “I ♥ NY,” logo for a 1977 NYS tourism promotion to accompany the “I Love New York” musical theme. He explained to a Cooper Union Audience in 2011, that the reason this logo worked so well, is that the human brain loves puzzles – so long as it can figure them out. In 2001, he produced the “I ♥ NY More Than Ever,” following the World Trade Center attacks.

Along with his partners at Push Pin Studios, he worked on the Un-Cola advertising campaign for 7-Up in 1971. One of his works in that campaign is titled, “Like No Cola Can.” This work which was a billboard, brings together the ideas of energy, electricity and Pop Culture. It also plays with the double meaning of the word Can. The words use “Can” as a verb while the image uses “Can” as a noun. Image

Milton Glaser first became an instructor at the School for Visual Arts (SVA) in 1960 and continued teaching there into the 2000s. He also served as served as chairman of the SVA board.

In the late 1980s he designed the AIDS logo for the World Health Organization and the logo and packaging for Brooklyn Brewery.

In 2009, Wendy Key produced a documentary film about Milton Glaser titled, Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight, which took a look at his career beginning with his years in high school and continuing to the present. Milton was 79 at that time and still very prolific.

In 2016, at age 86, Milton Glaser was interviewed by Bradford Weiner for Boomberg News, for his work designing get out the vote posters. Milton created the “Vote to Exist” poster. This is one of many posters that works, because it makes us see something differently. In this poster, Milton conveys that voting is important, because it gives power to the voter. See Video.

In 2017, Milton Glaser came back to the Cooper Union Great Hall for a public discussion on “The Design of Dissent.”

Participation in the Cooper Union Alumni Association

In February of 2011, Milton Glaser took part in the CUAA Film festival held in Rose Auditorium at The Cooper Union. Following a screening of Wendy Key’s documentary film about his career, he answered audience questions for about a half hour. In December of 2011, Milton Glaser spoke as a Trustee Emeritus at the CU Community Forum organized by the CUAA.

Milton Glaser at the CUAA Free Cooper Union Forum 12/05/2011 (Photo by Rocco Cetera CE’99)

In April of 2014, Milton Glaser presented the very first CUAA Peter Cooper Public Service Award to Patricia Buckley Moss at the Founder’s Day ceremony. He spoke at the Cooper Union 2015 Commencement. On November 13, 2017, Milton Glaser spoke at The Cooper Union as part of a discussion on “The Design of Dissent.” Milton had recently co-written a book with the same title.

Milton Glaser was on the Committee that helped arrange the first CU TedX event, which was held in 2012.

Milton Glaser presenting the Peter Cooper Service Award
Milton Glaser A’51 at 2014 Founder’s Day Ceremony Introducing Patricia Buckley Moss A’55

In 2014, The CUAA asked Milton Glaser to present the very first Peter Cooper Public Service Award.

Participation on the Cooper Union Board of Trustees

Milton Glaser served on the Cooper Union Board of Trustees during the early 2000’s and for a portion of his service he served as the Chair of the BOT.

Awards:

Milton Glaser is the only graphic designer to have received the National Medal of Arts award, the highest government honor awarded to artists, bestowed by the President, Barack Obama in 2009.

Milton Glaser received the 1966 CUAA Augustus Saint-Gaudens Award, the 1966 CU President’s Citation and the 2002 CU Urban Visionaries Award. He was inducted into the Cooper Union Hall of Fame in 2009.

References:

  • Milton Glaser 1929-2020 Obituary, The New York Times, June 29, 2020. Link
  • Alumni Profile: Milton Glaser, CUAA, Link
  • Founder’s Day 2014 Awards Ceremony CUAA. Link
  • “MIlton Glaser’s Unseen Design for New York: Together” The New York Times, June 29, 2020. Link
  • “Milton Glaser, Master Designer of ‘I<3 NY’ is dead at 91.” Link
  • Milton Glaser| The Work, the Milton Glaser Website, Link
  • “Ten Signature Images From Milton Glaser’s Eclectic Career,” The New York Times, July 1, 2020. Link
  • National Medal of Arts 2009 Link