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Milton Glaser Collection Box 13 Folder 15. Logo for School of Visual Arts Fortieth Anniversary, 1987.
August 29, 2014

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I don’t think anyone would generally associate Milton Glaser with minimalism, but when I recently revisited Frank Stella’s Protractor Series of the late 1960s, I couldn’t help but notice its influence on Milton Glaser’s 40th Anniversary logo for the School of Visual Arts, designed in 1987. Though necessarily lacking the monumental scale of Stella’s work, Glaser employs similar geometric abstraction in a way that is not typical of him (except, perhaps, in his early gallery announcements for the Visual Arts Gallery, which were designed in the mid-late 1960s and coincided with the emergence of minimal art).

A photo of two semi circles intertwined with each other. One of the semi-circles is standing upright and is made up smaller semi circles inside of it. The other semi-circle is laying down and made up several other semi circle as well.
Frank Stella, Sabra II, acrylic fluorescent, 10×10’, 1967.
A sketch of several semi-circles on a graphed paper. Three sketches are of semi-circles are being intertwined with one or more semi-crrcle. The 4th is just one semi-circle that is divided inside and is colored with bright colors.
Frank Stella, Studies for Paintings (Sabra and others), 1965.

Glaser has, however, repeatedly experimented with illusionism, and I’m sure it was his hope that bored subway riders would try to pull the labels off his poster.

A poster for the School of Visual Arts. The clutter of the same logo, which is a semi-circle with the number 40 in the middle, the 0 is going off the semi-circle, and it has "School of Visual Arts" and "Fortieth Anniversary" around the border of the semi circle. Below the clutter of these logo is "SVA- The First Forty Years" in thin white text.
Milton Glaser Collection Drawer 11 Folder 9. Poster for School of Visual Arts, 1987.
A rough sketch of the logo. A semi-circle with a thick border and is spilt in half. The number 40 is in the middle in blue and red colors. In the border of the semi-circle "Fortieth Anniversary" . and "School of Visual arts" is written in pencil.
Milton Glaser Collection Box 13 Folder 15. Sketch for logo for School of Visual Arts Fortieth Anniversary, 1987.

We have several preliminary sketches for Glaser’s SVA’s logo, including the one below, which trace his route to the semi-circle.

A photo of two sketches taped overlapping each other a bit. One sketch is the number 4 drawn big with a blue crazy and have a teal floor. There is the number 0 in red but is going off the page. The second sketch is rest of the number 0 on a teal floor.
Milton Glaser Collection Box 13 Folder 15. Sketch for logo for School of Visual Arts Fortieth Anniversary, 1987.