Close
Tomato in an armchair.
Poster for Tomato Records, 1978. If I could look at only one poster for the rest of my life, this would be the one.
June 27, 2020

Milton Glaser 1929-2020

“I’m never happier than when I’m making things or thinking about making things. I have not lost the passion or satisfaction of working.” - Milton Glaser in the introduction to Art is Work (Thames and Hudson, 2000).

We lost a great one. Milton Glaser, citizen of New York and reason this archive exists, passed away on Friday, June 26, 2020, his 91st birthday.

 


Nude with flowers for hair
Poster insert for the Push Pin Graphic, 1967.
Stevie Wonder with sunglasses
Concert poster, 1968.


It's hard to put into words all the ways in which his intelligence, wit, and humanism made their way into the visual culture. He made things that we see and interact with every day, things that improve our daily experience through their clarity and beauty and humor. I have yet to meet another designer who has so thoroughly interrogated why they do what they do, and was able to articulate it in such a relatable and compelling manner.

Last year, in honor of Milton's 90th birthday, we posted 90 of our favorites pieces on Instagram tagged #90byMilton. It's a good place to see a tiny sliver of the incredible breadth of his work. You might notice some recurring ideas and motifs as you browse the images there and elsewhere.

There's of course his psychedelic style, which Milton came to dislike and distance himself from, but there's no denying this work is beautiful and arresting and had a tremendous impact on art and design.

 


Colorful band members with instruments
Poster, 1966.
Figure standing on moon
Opera News cover, 1970.

There are gentle and dreamy watercolors.


Logo made up of watercolor horizon
Utopia Records logo, mid-1970s.


Reimagined Art Deco. 
 


art deco style menu cover
Rainbow Room menu, 1987
Art deco inspired tile mosaic
Astor Place subway station mosaic, 1986.


The vast scope of projects like Grand Union supermarket and Sesame Place.
 


Architectural model
Architectural model for produce section of Grand Union supermarket.
Brochure for Sesame Place
Sesame Place opening brochure, 1980.

Mini art history lessons.


Dog with typewriter and sandaled feet
Poster, 1968.

Playful use of the grid.


Floating computer against a yellow grid
Poster, 1992.

The visual annotation of his layered illustrations.


Book cover for Asimov's annotation Don Juan
Book jacket, 1972.

Delicate cross-hatching.


Pen and ink drawings of animals to promote printers' services
Advertisement from Push Pin Graphic, 1957. 

Low contrast patterns.


light colored grid forming tower of light
Poster for the Houston Holocaust Museum, 2006.

Exploration of the real estate beyond the boundaries of the page.


Nude on checkerboard floor surrounded by columns
Poster for Cincinnati Music Hall, 1978
Yellow doors opening revealing Twen
SVA exhibition poster, 1965.

Surrealism


Turkey with poppy for head
Poster for Poppy Records, 1968.
Woman sitting in chair with rabbit, next to surreal portrait of woman and rabbit as cookies
Poster, 1989.

Visual deconstruction and reconstruction.


Abstract poster for Society of Newspaper Designer
Poster, 1989.

 


Twelve plums
Poster, 1974.

Stairsteps.


Staircase pattern
Proposed cover for Idea Magazine.

 


Bach in colorful suit
Album cover, 1989

Wings.


colorful wing against music staff
Poster, 1987.
Angels in America logo, wing with an A
Angels in America logo, 1993.


Milton was a teacher, a raconteur, an artist of the highest order. He was an intellectual, a student of history, a person who made New York City better - our subway stations, our restaurants, our supermarkets, our magazines, our theater and music productions, our cultural institutions, our beer bottles, all were transformed by his vision.

He told me once that his hope was to leave the world in a better state than the one in which he found it. Milton lived and worked for 91 years. Despite the moment of tragedy and turmoil we find ourselves in now, I don't think there's any question he accomplished what he set out to do.