Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight Anecdotally Strolls Through Designer’s Life


“I’m interested in work that doesn’t exactly look as though it was designed, but sort of looks as though it happened,” declares legendary graphic designer and New York magazine co-founder Milton Glaser. Sure enough, a tourist’s-view stroll through midtown Manhattan might make one believe that his most ubiquitous work—the “I ♥ NY” logo, a registered trademark he, sadly, doesn’t make a nickel from—simply materialized from out of manhole steam. Directed by retired Film Society of Lincoln Center producer/programmer Wendy Keys, To Inform and Delight (from a Horace quote that Glaser took to ♥T on the purpose of art) bridges Glaser’s creative principles with the pop-cultural hype he’s long produced. It’s a pleasant, largely anecdotal portrait, as focused on his personal history (early influences, his Cooper Union education, revisiting the site of his former $135/month East Village floor-through) as it is on the iconography that will outlive him, from the rainbow-haired Dylan silhouette to the Brooklyn Brewery logo. Like many a newbie documentarian, Keys neglects artistry in favor of pragmatism, and it’s unfortunate that her visually lifeless talking-head bits take no cues from her subject’s clean aesthetic. But perhaps it’s overly critical to fault anybody for not being Milton Glaser.