New Yorkers Love the City, but Hate the New Logo
By Yehudit Garmaise
Ever since graphic designer Milton Glaser, the son Hungarian Jewish immigrants, used a red crayon to draw the famous, "I ❤ NY" slogan in 1976, the stylized logo has cheerfully adorned keychains, sweatshirts, shot glasses, and tote bags in souvenir shops strewn throughout the city and the city’s airports.
Glaser’s original drawing is not only featured in the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, but the design still looks so fresh and appealing that it has remained a modern, crisp, and fresh design for the city’s $85 billion tourism industry for 47 years.
While announcing a new two-year marketing campaign for the city on Monday in Times Square, Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled an “update” to the classic logo.
While Glaser sketched his design alone in the back of a taxi, now a “marketing team” comprised of two agencies, the Grain Group and Founders and many city officials, came together to create a new logo that riffs off Glaser’s classic design: but looks a little lopsided and less iconic.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” was the general consensus of New Yorkers who tweeted their disapproval of the new version of a beloved and artful design.
While some New Yorkers liked the emphasis on community that was gained by changing “I” to “We,” many residents called out the new design’s “weird proportion,” and said the new logo “looked like a rushed design.”
While New Yorkers loved the look of I ❤ NY’s classic font, which is called ITC American Typewriter and evokes New York’s long history of literary and journalistic greatness, the type announcing subway stops was what inspired the new design’s font, according to Graham Clifford, the campaign’s designer and art director.
“The subway is what connects us,” explained Maryam Banikarim, an adviser to the Partnership for New York City, which worked on the logo.
The campaign’s creators swapped “I” for “We,” “because we believe this is the time for we and not me: or I,” said Banikarim, who wanted to promote volunteerism, community service, and caring for others.
“The emoji heart reflects the digital world we live in and the use of emoji as a universal language,” Banikarim said.
Instead of loving all of New York, the design team added the “C” because the campaign is New York City-focused, and not a New York state initiative, said Banikarim, a 20-year marketing veteran, who was not shocked that New Yorkers were outspoken in their response to the new logo.