Milton Glaser, possibly the best-known graphic designer in the world, recently passed away at the age of 91. His “I Heart NY” became the symbol of an age, and the 1967 poster of Bob Dylan with psychedelic hair adorned half the dorms in the country. Fragiles (as people over 60 are now labeled), take note! He worked up to the very end. And a last project was another symbol for yet another concept impossible to pin down.
He was developing a new graphic called ‘together’, composed of a range of typefaces, both upper and lowercase characters, and colorful lines, whose letters remain connected and united despite their differences. He designed the in-progress work to enhance the sense of community during the COVID pandemic. He believed a designer has a responsibility toward society to make it better, for everyone.
Using influences as far-flung as Islamic art and 15th century painting, as a first-generation American, the child of immigrants, he himself was an example of the value of diversity. Since his concept surfaced not only during COVID but also the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement, I like to think the image can be used appropriately for many situations.
Whether humans ever can work “together” for common goals, live “together” in some kind of off-tone, cacophonous harmony, endure various crises “together” for humans’ survival will be debated now and for years in acrimonious arguments. I’m glad Glaser’s last gift is present to give us an image to shoot for.