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Milton Glaser dead: Designer behind iconic I heart NY logo dies aged 91

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Milton Glaser, the influential American graphic designer who created the I ♥ NY logo, has died aged 91.

The logo was originally created for a 1977 tourism campaign, but quickly gained worldwide recognition, and it thought of as the most frequently imitated in history.

Glaser later said he was “flabbergasted by what happened to this little, simple nothing of an idea”.

The designer was also a co-founder of New York magazine, and created a famous poster of Bob Dylan with psychedelic hair.

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with graphic designer Milton Glaser after presenting him with the 2009 National Medal of Arts (Mandel NGAN / AFP)

His wife Shirley told the New York Times that he died from a stroke.

Ms Glaser was born in the Bronx borough of New York City in 1929, and studied at both the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy.

In 1954, he established Push Pin Studios with three Cooper Union classmates, and brought a new visual language to commercial art, seeking wide-ranging inspiration from Art Nouveau and German woodcuts to the cartoons of the 1930s, and Chinese wash drawing.

His poster of Bob Dylan showed a silhouette of the musician based on a self-portrait by Marcel Duchamp and brightly coloured locks of hair borrowed from Islamic art. The poster was included in Dylan’s 1967 album Greatest Hits, which was bought by six millions fans.

In 1968, Glaser co-founded New York magazine and was its design director for nine years.

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The magazine’s obituary described him as a “giant of graphic design”, and credited him with yanking “New York out of the newspaper morgue” and turning it into a “great American magazine”,

In 1974, he established his own design firm, Milton Glaser, Inc.

Three years later, he designed the “I ♥ NY” logo for free free to help promote tourism in his home city, amid a crime wave and financial crisis.

Mr Glaser came up with the idea while riding in a taxi and scribbled it in red crayon on an envelope, which is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Speaking to the New York Times in 2008, he said: “It is one of those peculiarities of your own life where you don’t know the consequences of your own actions.”

“Who in the world would have thought that this silly little bit of ephemera would become one of the most pervasive images of the 20th Century?”

After the 9/11 attacks, Glaser released an amended version of the logo that featured a bruised heart and read “I ♥ NY MORE THAN EVER”.

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