Milton Glaser was the first graphic designer to receive  the National Medal of the Arts award.

Milton Glaser was the first graphic designer to receive the National Medal of the Arts award.

Milton Glaser at  Type Drives Culture by TDC  - the first time I saw him talk about his work in person

Milton Glaser at Type Drives Culture by TDC - the first time I saw him talk about his work in person

CBS records commissioned Milton Glaser to design a special poster for the album  Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits . Taking inspiration from a  Marcel Duchamp self-portrait , Glaser depicted Dylan in profile, his abundant curly hair rendered in saturated colors that stood out in high contrast from the white ground. The energetic design with its swirling streams of color evokes the visual effects of the psychedelic drugs that were gaining popularity amongst members of the counter culture.

CBS records commissioned Milton Glaser to design a special poster for the album Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits. Taking inspiration from a Marcel Duchamp self-portrait, Glaser depicted Dylan in profile, his abundant curly hair rendered in saturated colors that stood out in high contrast from the white ground. The energetic design with its swirling streams of color evokes the visual effects of the psychedelic drugs that were gaining popularity amongst members of the counter culture.

Milton Glaser is among the most celebrated graphic designers in the world. 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. 

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.

 
 

If you could be rich with one thing, what would it be and why?

If I could be rich in one thing it would have to be open-mindedness.


Here is an excerpt from the AIGA talk in London (2001) titled Ten Things I Have Learned, which explains why he believes being open is key to creativity.


Doubt is better than creativity
Everyone always talks about confidence in believing what you do. I remember once going to a class in yoga where the teacher said that, spirituality speaking, if you believed that you had achieved enlightenment you have merely arrived at your limitation. I think that is also true in a practical sense.

Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. It makes me nervous when someone believes too deeply or too much.

I think that being skeptical and questioning all deeply held beliefs is essential. Of course we must know the difference between skepticism and cynicism because cynicism is as much a restriction of one's openness to the world as passionate belief is. They are sort of twins. And then in a very real way, solving any problem is more important than being right. There is a significant sense of self-righteousness in both the art and design world. Perhaps it begins at school. Art school often begins with the Ayn Rand model of the single personality resisting the ideas of the surrounding culture. The theory of the avant-garde is that as an individual you can transform the world, which is true up to a point.

One of the signs of a damaged ego is absolute certainty.Schools encourage the idea of not compromising and defending your work at all costs. Well, the issue at work is usually all about the nature of compromise. You just have to know what to compromise. Blind pursuit of your own ends which excludes the possibility that others may be right does not allow for the fact that in design we are always dealing with a triad – the client, the audience and you. Ideally, making everyone win through acts of accommodation is desirable. But self-righteousness is often the enemy. Self-righteousness and narcissism generally come out of some sort of childhood trauma, which we do not have to go into. It is a consistently difficult thing in human affairs. Some years ago I read a most remarkable thing about love, that also applies to the nature of co-existing with others. It was a quotation from Iris Murdoch in her obituary. It read ‘Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.’ Isn’t that fantastic! The best insight on the subject of love that one can imagine.