Milton Glaser Quotes to Appreciate Design in Life

In June 2020, designer Milton Glaser left the world, prompting everybody in design to look back on his life as a visionary. He is most famous for creating the iconic “I ❤️ NY” logo, has influenced the creative world significantly in his working years, and will be remembered for his quotes about design. 

Milton Glaser’s Career

Milton Glaser trained at the Cooper Union Art School in New York and had the opportunity to study with the late Giorgio Morandi in Italy under a Fulbright Scholarship.

His career bloomed when photography and television were radically changing and shaping the communications industry as illustrations moved from a naturalistic style to the mass-media imaging we know today.

In the 1960s, Glaser and his colleague Seymour Chwast were becoming more immersed in typography and the totality of communications design. They approached design to be responsible for the concept, overall page design, lettering, and imaging for a single project.

Source: Printmag

Towards the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, Glaser was appointed art director for New York Magazine. In the late 20th century, his career continued into magazine art direction, fine art, corporate visual identity, and even packaging and restaurant design.

His penchant for experimentation led him to produce a variety of designs across different media.

Milton Glaser – Quotes that Inspire

To understand the impact this trailblazer created, one must appreciate the importance of design. In technical terms, a design is a plan for constructing an object or a system to make life easier.

However, that’s not why design really matters to us; design matters because it touches us emotionally. When we see an eye-catching logo or come across a system whose parts work flawlessly together, our emotional reactions influence how we think and behave.

Outstanding design moves people to awe, and it is in this state, we are free to become more creative, think more efficiently, and even live life in a more spirited way.

In his 91 years of life, Milton Glaser has said some pretty remarkable things that many an aspiring designer — or anybody for that matter — can draw inspiration from. Here are 20 standout quotes stated by Milton Glaser that will help you appreciate design in life.

1. There are three responses to a piece of design — yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.
Milton Glaser design
Source: Dezeen
2. Certainty is a closing of the mind. To create something new you must have doubt.
3. Solving any problem is more important than being right.
4. We are all born with genius. It’s like our fairy godmother. But what happens in life is that we stop listening to our inner voices, and we no longer have access to this extraordinary ability to create poetry.
Milton Glaser Quotes
5. Fail more often in order to find out what you’re capable of learning.
6. Design is simply planning. My definition of design is this: it is going from an existing position to a preferred one. It’s everything.
7. The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire, and persistence. Talent without these things vanishes and even modest talent with those characteristics grows.
Milton Glaser Quotes
8. We’re always looking, but we never really see.
9. You learn more and more that everything exists at once with its opposite, so the contradictions of life are never-ending and somehow the mediation between these opposites is the game of life.

10. Somebody said — and I think it’s one of the principles of the New Age, but I also think it’s true — that if you perceive the universe as being a universe of abundance, then it will be. If you think of the universe as one of scarcity, then it will be. I always thought that there was enough of everything to go around — that there are enough ideas in the universe and enough nourishment.

11. Fail more often in order to find out what you’re capable of learning.

Source: Milton Glaser

12. I think what I feel fortunate about is that I am still astonished—that things still amaze me. And I think that that’s a great benefit of being in the arts, where the possibility for learning never disappears; where you basically have to admit you never learn it.

13. To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.

14. I have become increasingly interested in words, because I think words are images. I don’t see a separation between words and images. I think the right three words can create as much imagery as any motion picture.

15. If you can sustain your interest in what you’re doing, you’re an extremely fortunate person. What you see very frequently in people’s professional lives, and perhaps in their emotional life as well, is that they lose interest in the third act. You sort of get tired, and indifferent, and, sometimes, defensive. And you kind of lose your capacity for astonishment — and that’s a great loss, because the world is a very astonishing place.

Milton Glaser Quotes

Source: Milton Glaser

16. Computers are to design as microwaves are to cooking.

17. All the things you’re not supposed to do at the beginning of your professional life—transgressiveness, arbitrariness and violating expectations—you find more attractive at the end of your professional life.

18. I do not want to say I’m a product designer. I’ve been trying all my life to not be categorized, to learn something, and then to forget about it.

19. If we realize we are all related and we need one another, that would be the best thing that could happen.

20. Just enough is more.

Source: Dezeen
We hope you enjoyed these quotes by Milton Glaser as much as his designs. Stay tuned for more posts on design and art. In the meantime, leave some thoughts in the comment section and check out this article about minimalistic logo design.

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