NY’s Iconic Logo Exists Thanks To Bermuda Trip

August 1, 2017

The “I [heart] NY” logo turns 40 this year, and its creators, including graphic designer Milton Glaser, recently told The New York Post about the origins of the iconic logo, saying that “had there been no trip to Bermuda, there wouldn’t be any logo.”

The Post article by Hana R. Alberts asserts: “Back in 1977, the logo was commissioned as part of a larger advertising campaign by New York state’s Department of Commerce. It was meant to lure out-of-state travelers to a place then beset with problems: a bankrupt government, high crime rates, a drug epidemic, a homelessness crisis, abandoned buildings, raging fires and a major blackout.”


As part of an attempt to change New York’s sordid image, Commerce Commissioner John Dyson and his deputy William Doyle hired Milton Glaser, a South Bronx native, to join the campaign.

According to The Post: “That summer, Glaser’s first attempt resulted in a lukewarm response from the team. So during a cab ride a few days later, he took a red crayon and scribbled down four characters on the back of an envelope: “I,” a heart, “N” and “Y.”

“The big secret of that is replacing a verb with a noun. Change the language and make people solve a problem,” Glaser, 88, told The Post. “The ‘I’ is a complete word, the heart is a symbol for an emotion, and NY is the initial for a place. So you have to figure it out, otherwise, it’s impenetrable. It’s a puzzle that is easily solved.”

While most of the advertising team believed the design was “too abstract and cryptic,” Doyle disagreed and had two T-shirts with the logo made [on his own dime], which he and his then-girlfriend wore on the beach in Bermuda during a Labor Day weekend trip.

“People came up to us on the beach and said, ‘Oh, my God, I love it,’ ” Doyle said. “I can still see the ladies. It brought huge smiles, and people’s eyes were glistening. It really worked.”

“That was the moment of truth, I think,” Doyle added. “Had there been no trip to Bermuda, there wouldn’t be any logo.”

To read the full New York Post article click here

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