There were many different ideas to be learned from the film “To Delight and Inform.” Milton Glaser’s years of expertise and success makes him a great subject for a film on design that can be used to teach. Though Glaser did discuss the technicalities and work that goes into making a design, the biggest thing I took away from the film is what constitutes as design.
Glaser’s arguably most famous work is his “I <3 NY” design. I’ve seen this design everywhere: in airports, on mugs, on t-shirts, on posters… However, I never really considered this a design. It was something that was always just there. After watching the film, my opinion changed.
Prior to the film, I would have never known how much thought was put into the I <3 NY design that I had previously taken for granted. First, there was the thought that New York city was in low spirits and needed lifting. Second, there was the thought that design could solve this problem. Third, there was the thought of the design.
The thought of the design is what intrigues me. The seemingly simple design could have been thought up by a 10 year old, right? Wrong. Glaser’s role as a design genius really showed when it came to designing the “I <3 NY” symbol. He not only had to think of a way to make people love the city (through the phrase), but he also had to make people remember the design.
He did this by describing how people enjoy “puzzles.” The design of the “I <3 NY” design is a puzzle. It’s one letter, a symbol, and an abbreviation. Once people solve a puzzle like this one, they remember it. The fact that Glaser thought of this, is incredible to me.
After he thought of this idea, he had to execute. The execution was really the only simple part of the design, and rightfully so. It’s simplicity has allowed it to thrive in a variety of mediums and out-stand many generational trends.
Milton Glaser and the “I <3 NY” design proved to me that design doesn’t always have to be intricate and “beautiful.” Design doesn’t even have to stand out as design! In fact, sometimes the best designs are the ones that are taken for granted, the ones that are “just there”, the ones that we encounter every single day without thinking twice about them. I guess these facts just proves that the designers ability to assimilate a design into a culture and make the design timeless was successful.