Milton Glaser, 83

Before delving into the Olympic swimming pool-sized source of material that Milton Glaser and “To Delight and Inform” gave us, let’s consider the age of the man-shaped legend. Glaser is 83 now. He was 78 when this film was released, but you wouldn’t know it.

This is key. Perhaps more than any other substance in the digital ink I’m about to spill, it’s worth noting that well into his eighth and ninth decade on this planet Glaser still exudes an irresistible enthusiasm for the work he does. Of course, his outlook has changed over time, but remember, the guy doesn’t need to work. He is one of the great artists of our time and he appears incapable of not doing what he does for a living. He needs design as much as it needs him.

When Glaser was younger he said he thought he could do anything. He’d take on any project and most of the time he succeeded. Yet he wasn’t always happy with his work. At least, it didn’t seem that way. In this respect I can relate to Glaser. No really.

Glaser is obviously a man on much more talent and vision that I may never know. I’m no dunce, but he’s damn good. What really strikes me though is the current, old Glaser. He is much more selective with what he takes on now. He understands his limitations as a creator and project manager and he works within those. This is at least double-edged.

First off, Glaser can afford to say no. That’s what happens when you’re the best, you have choices that less established artists, such as a younger Glaser, do not. Still, the fact that he took on as much as he did in his youth undoubtedly made him better in the long run. Just as undoubtedly, some of the fruits of that labor were not up to his standards, but he surely learned something from the concepts he attempted to put in place. Like he said, Glaser does not believe in style, he just sort of builds on ideas.

Me too. Just not as well and with less of his talent. I mean, I can’t even get my friends to let me look at their resumes. That said, whatever projects come my way can only make me better in the long run. I barely know photoshop right now and the projects that do “come my way” are called assignments, but if there’s one thing I take from Glaser and the film about him it’s that I must have a go at whatever’s in front of me. Yeah I know my limitations, and there are plenty of them, but I can limit them by staying open.


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