I ♥ NY – An Iconic Design Shared Around the Globe

posted on 22nd May 2018 by Pat Kinsley

Every time I turn around it seems like it’s springtime again. I love spring in Dublin. The canals become packed with people soaking in the sun, the flowers have bloomed in Stephens Green and there’s a yearning for something new. My connection and memory of spring is no different than what I have described. Except for me, it also brings me back to my humble roots. You see, every spring I also celebrate yet another year of my migration from NYC. That’s New York City – of course you knew that, but I just had to say it twice. 

Yes, at the end of this week it will mark 33 years since I left my native home of NYC to move to my future horizons right here in good ol’ Dublin. Actually to be honest, each year that passes I do get that slight bit more emotional. People ask what I miss about the ‘Big Apple,’ what are my favourite memories? What do I love about New York?

As I think back on my favourite moments from growing up in Queens, long nights at CBGB’s and chasing Andy Warhol through the city, I also think back to a class I took in 1979 while I was in college at the School of Visual Arts with lecturer Milton Glaser, the designer of the I Love NY logo. A logo that’s coined to be the most recognised and copied logo in the world. But it’s the impact the logo had on NYC and its ubiquity that really sticks with me.

Back in the 1970’s, times were tough for the concrete jungle. The city was on the brink of bankruptcy, violent crimes were at an all-time-high and tourists were warned not to visit. The New York State Department of Commerce decided that a PR campaign was needed and Glaser was tapped to design the logo – pro bono.

Image credit: Adweek.com

“I did it for free. At the beginning, it wasn’t even copyrighted, because for the first 10 years the idea was to let everyone use it, so that it would proliferate and enter into the culture. I agreed to do it as a pro bono job because it was of benefit to the state” Milton Glaser, Telegraph.

With three letters and the symbol for love, Glaser’s graphic touched the hearts of New Yorkers and tourists from around the world, and changed the fate of the city. These days, it’s not only an icon for NYC, but also for the entire world – with imitations on the streets of Shanghai and on t-shirts in souvenirs shops in Dublin.

It goes to show how powerful branding and design is. A graphic visual that saved the day is now an icon that connects the world to the capital of the universe. But I’m just lucky to have been Glaser’s student.

To me NYC has always been the heartbeat of so many people’s dreams and for that heartbeat to be shared around the globe through this iconic piece of design…..

There is a bit of NY in everyone!

PAT KINSLEY, FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR 

One of the original Brand Thinkers on this Island, Pat has spent the last 33 years extolling the virtues of branding as an essential commercial device that improves every company’s bottom-line. A native of New York City, he brought this passion to Dublin City and now it travels with him wherever he goes!