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“To Delight and Inform”

The documentary, “To Delight and Inform,” about Milton Glaser’s life as a graphic designer, was very interesting. Almost immediately I realized how humble and nonchalant Glaser appeared to be. I was surprised to hear that he was the man behind the iconic “I <3 NY” design because he did not have the personality that I assumed the designer of such a famous logo would have. It was even more surprising to hear that he did the work pro-bono. This truly says a lot about the person Glaser is.

The pattern of being laid-back and not over-the-top continued when the viewer was let into his studio. Instead of being a large, modern office space like I expected, the area was somewhat small and cramped, with only three people working there! Again it is hard to imagine that this simple studio space is where the man behind a logo that is everywhere has accomplished so much.

What I was also surprised about was the time and effort put into designs such as “I <3 NY” or the cover of Fortune 500. Because the logo “I <3 NY” is everywhere, our eyes are almost used to it and we do not have to look twice to know what we are seeing. For that reason, it is surprising to know that so much time and sketching went into its creation. However, throughout the film I came to realize that this is just Glaser’s style.

The title of the film is where I truly came to appreciate graphic design. “To Delight and Inform” speaks to Glaser’s motivation behind design. I can see this evident in the “I <3 NY” logo. While it may be simple and basic, it accomplishes both the task of delighting and informing; it is visually pleasing, so much so that it has sold millions of T-shirts. It is also informative, as it has come to represent New York City itself and one can easily recognize it when they are traveling outside of the state. For this reason, I can understand that graphic design does not have to be so over the top to be visually pleasing. Instead, if I take out an extra line and just change my margins (like in my resume), I can create a better visual design than if I made it far too elaborate and over-the-top.

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