The thing that stood out to me the most in this film was the moment that Milton Glaser proclaimed, “I don’t trust style.” With that statement, all of his designs made sense. He wasn’t trying to follow a set of rules that he believed encapsulated his “personal style”; he was just following his heart and mind when it came down to it. I feel like most designers take pride in their own particular style and ravish in the moment when it is recognized for belonging to them. But Milton is different. That is what makes him so special in the world of design.
It’s not easy to always follow your instincts when it comes to design. I have definitely learned that to be true in this course. We are so often pulled in different directions, constantly questioning our work and its implications. We worry so much about how people will perceive our designs, knowing that public opinion and interpretation is no doubt important in this business. But, it is also extremely limiting. In one of my favorite parts of the film, Milton shows us the drawings he has done of Monet’s life, as he comes across a picture of a dog where he remarks, “This is Monet’s dog”. After a pause Milton says, “I don’t even know if he had a dog”. Milton’s purpose in creating art isn’t always to be true to history or to explain things in a literal sense. It is to inform and delight. The dog delighted someone, and for Milton that is all that matters.
I don’t think that “to inform” needs to be taken literally either. His design of “I <3 NY” informs the world in all types of ways about the effervescent life and joy of the most beloved city of the world, without any literal representation of it. Design has the power to inform us in the most practical sense, but also in the most abstract and conceptual way possible. Design is what we bring to it, and I believe that Milton Glaser has always and will always figure out a way to bring something new.