Remembering Milton Glaser (1929-2020)

Milton Glaser, a creative giant, sadly left us this past Friday, June 26th at age 91.

The sign on entering his building on East 32nd St. states in a beautiful Spencerian script, “Art is Work”. I believe this was a statement for corporate clients who could afford to pay handsomely for his talents. This was indeed “work” for him, and in turn, his clients deservedly received gold.

No one who is serious about his or her craft goes into it for the money, and this was true for Milt. His true love was his art and posters, neither of which paid very much, especially posters.

He spent the majority of his life loving his craft till the very end; retirement was never an option for him. Milt was truly passionate about what he did and it wasn’t work; it was play.

His creative output was massive, resulting in an average of 40 posters per year; totaling 400 in his career.

At Graphis, Milton had a continuous presence in our past Annuals and magazines and now the latest Issue #364 of the Journal, which fortunately was a gift.

In it, he reveals his philosophies, difficult challenges, greatest achievements, and his definition of success as well as advice for future designers and students.

All of his parting answers to us are thoughtfully expressed, and they deserve to be read in his words.

Significant is a handwritten letter that I had asked Milt to write in a past issue to Claude Monet, his greatest influence and visual mentor as if Claude were alive today. It is respectfully moving.

I had expressed in my letter in this issue that Milt had become a legend in his own time without an attitude.

In his Q&A responses, he never mentioned his endless medals and honors, especially upon gaining national attention for his lifetime achievements when being awarded the 2009 Medal of the Arts from the President of the United States.

This was given to him on February 25th, 2010, at a special ceremony at the White House with Obama placing this medal around his neck.

There is no end here, since the memory of his dedicated life to the love of his craft will inspire us forever. He certainly did this for me. We will always ♥ Milt.

Click here to view the article: Milton Glaser, Decades of Genius: Unparalleled.

Here is a link I was sent to share for an auction of Milton Glaser’s works. Graphis has no affiliation with this auction.

B. Martin Pedersen
Publisher & Creative Director

Author: Graphis

6 thoughts on “Remembering Milton Glaser (1929-2020)

  1. I took several classes at SVA with Milton and Henry Wolfe back in the 70’s. He always made himself available when I would stop by his office to show him new work, and to this very day I remember getting a call from him when he was the Creative Director of Esquire offering me an assignment to photograph the10 best roadside diners in America. It was a most memorable trip. There was one other person who played a significant role in shaping my budding career as a photographer – one other person who saw something in my work that made him want take a chance on an unknown talent. This person was B.Martin Pedersen. And I will always be thankful for the trust both of you had in me all those years ago. Thank you Milton, and thank you Marty… thank you so much for EVERYTHING.

  2. Milton Glaser was a design hero to me. When I took a summer session in NYC through Syracuse University’s Visual and Performing Arts Dept. in the mid-seventies, he invited us to visit him at his brownstone. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. He was so down to earth and had such a passion for his work that it couldn’t help but rub off on me and my classmates.

    The world will be a little out of balance without him.

  3. Well said Marty.
    I will always remember Milton for his generosity of spirit, his great craftsmanship, and true interest in making the world a better place through design. What a talent; what a loss.
    I did a few illustrations for Milton over the years and he was great to work with. First as a casting director he always knew my strengths and never miscast me. As an editor he knew how to say just the right thing to make my work better. I’ll always remember you Milton…

  4. No truer Icon than Milton… He left a legacy that will be unmatched. Thank you for inspiring me and many others.

  5. I first came across Milton Glaser’s work at college in London when I was studying graphic design, I clearly remember tutors admiring the clever typographic details in his letterhead designs.

    One of the features of his work that struck me was his ability to draw, paint and illustrate with such skill for one client and then design a typeface, a logo or design a magazine for another.

    It intrigued me how students evolved into designers or illustrators but somehow Milton Glaser could do both and to such a high level.

    But what really makes him distinctive is the strong social dimension to his practice whether on a personal level or in the content of the work itself.

    In these lean times Milton Glaser truly reminds us how special America can be.

    Andrew Sloan

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