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Milton Glaser’s Push Pin Essay

Milton Glaser, the son of Hungarian immigrants, was born in the South Bronx in 1929. His father owned a dry-cleaning business and his mother was a housewife. He lived in a neighborhood which contained some of New York’s first co-operative apartment buildings. Unlike a condo, co-ops are owned by a corporation. This means that the building wasn’t actually bought by the resident. Glaser attended the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York’s East Village. In 1954, three graduates and Glaser established Push Pin Studios, which was to become a model in graphic design for several decades.

Those three graduates were: Seymour Chwast, Edward Sorel and Reynold Ruffins. What followed after this was about twenty years of cooperative graphic expression. Push Pin Studios was a great success, allowing the new studio to grow very fast. Push Pin expanded its membership to include designers Paul Davis, Jim McMullan, and John Alcorn, and many others. Push Pin’s success went on after 23 years and 76 issues, sadly, Push Pin Studios ceased publication in 1980, due to rising production costs. Push Pin all together was a unique partnership and a movement of its work and is still moving people today.

If you’re interested to know more on Push Pin Studios, please see: The Push Pin Graphic: A Quarter Century of Innovative Design and Illustration (Chronicle Books, 2004). In early 1976 Glaser had recreated the DC logo (referred to as The Bullet). “It employed evolving elements of the past, while establishing a fresh interpretation for the times. This “Bullet” has lasted until today, becoming the single longest running logo in the company’s history.” According to DC comics Graphics History. Today DC still is making comics and movies, including Batman, Superman, Green lantern and so much more! DC is one of the largest companies in comic book making and media publishing. Like most of Glaser’s work related things, DC comics was located in New York. Glaser’s had also created the Bob Dylan Poster.

The graphic is a silhouette of Dylan whisk his name in the lower right corner, in bright red letters. His hair, is what stands out the most. The color Glaser’s used for the hair was a wide variety of colors. It was bubbly and fun looking. (In my own opinion). According to Sign of Times: Bob Dylan, “Milton Glaser’s 1966 poster of a folk-rock icon captured the psychedelic dazzle of the flower-power era” I couldn’t agree more. Again the color choices used in the graphic were very well selected. And the shape the hair was drawn in was almost floral looking. I’m assuming that’s what the author meant by the “Flower-power era.” ‘Art is Work’, the slogan in the window above the door of the Beaux-Arts townhouse where he has been formed since 1965.

“My intention was to not remove art as a separate activity but to integrate it into the everyday life of everybody.” says Glaser. Today his work involves “ceramics, fabrics, watches”. He narrowed down his operation of to two designers and an assistant. “I’m not interested in using the studio as essentially a financial mechanism, I’m interested in seeing what opportunities for inventing things the studio will serve.” Says Glaser. According to Times Magazine, Milton Glaser “… was one of the World’s most celebrated graphic designers, may also be its most iconic.” and I couldn’t agree more. Even now I can still see some of his logos he has made, like his “I V NY”.

In my opinion he was a really great graphic designer. He has inspired me and others to create or make designs of their own. Learning about Glaser’s was a lot of fun. I enjoyed learning about a man who had a passion for his work, just like me. It never really came to mind that the “I ~ NY” was simply created on a small sheet of paper in the back of a taxi car. This Logo is the most highly plagiarized logo in the world. What’s shocking is that he did this for free! Just by reading about him, you learn that Glaser is a man full of humbleness. He didn’t want the attention of fame neither did he want the money, as to what Glaser says “Art is whatever.”

And I interpret this as saying that art can be anything in this world, ranging from everyday objects to neater itself. Art is all around us. You just have to have the mind to find it. What’s hilarious is that we humans can come up with the most clever ideas, not realizing that it might have impact on the world. Well I’ll tell you this, Milton Glaser’s works sure did change my world, but the real question is, did he change yours?

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