Glaser, Milton

Few designers evoke as much praise from their eminent peers as Milton Glaser. Over the last five decades, he has been one of the most internationally renowned and highly influential figures in design. Vastly prolific, his versatility as a practitioner spans many design disciplines, including graphics, exhibitions, interiors, furniture and products.

To many, Milton Glaser is the embodiment of American graphic design during the latter half of this century. His presence and impact on the profession internationally is formidable. Immensely creative and articulate, he is a modern renaissance man—one of a rare breed of intellectual designer-illustrators, who brings a depth of understanding and conceptual thinking, combined with a diverse richness of visual language, to his highly inventive and individualistic work.

Having initially trained as a classical fine artist, his historical roots in design were as co-founder of the New York-based Pushpin Studio in 1954, with Seymour Chwast, Edward Sorel and Reynold Ruffins. In Pushpin, Glaser was in the vanguard of a movement that reacted against the strict authoritarianism and austerity of modernism.

Exploring and re-interpreting the visual material of both fine art and commercial art of the previous era, (including that of Victoriana, wood-cut illustration, comic books, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco), they sought to bring fresh ideas, humor and a new decorative and illustrative approach to the design of record sleeves, book covers, posters and magazines.

Immediately recognizable, the work of Pushpin Studio evolved to become an international force in graphic design during the 1960s and 1970s. He has had the distinction of one-man-shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the Georges Pompidou Center. He was selected for the lifetime achievement award of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (2004) and the Fulbright Association (2011), and in 2009 he was the first graphic designer to receive the National Medal of the Arts award. As a Fulbright scholar, Glaser studied with the painter Giorgio Morandi in Bologna and is an articulate spokesman for the ethical practice of design. He opened Milton Glaser, Inc. in 1974, and continues to produce a prolific amount of work in many fields of design to this day.