The Glaser Nobody Knows: Milton Goes for an Ice Cream

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The Glaser Nobody Knows is a column featuring work by Milton Glaser that you may never have seen before. There are countless projects by the master, both produced and unpublished, that are unfamiliar even to design aficionados. All of the items in this column are part of The Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives at the School of Visual Arts, the chief repository of his legendary work.

In 1981, Milton Glaser redesigned the logo for Sammontana, an Italian ice cream company based in Empoli. (The Italian Logo Museum has a great historical overview of the evolution of Sammontana’s brandmark since its founding in 1946.) Glaser’s work for Sammontana is just one of his many projects for Italian clients (e.g., Olivetti, Vespa, Venice Biennale, etc.); his love affair with Italy began during his Fulbright year in Bologna, studying with Morandi.

Glaser’s primary logo for Sammontana consisted of a half circle with a simplified, smiling ice cream cone. This logo has mostly survived intact and is still used today.

But the project also included customized designs for individual flavors, each with its own character and coordinated patterned label design. It’s not hard to imagine Pirottino Cacao, Granulato Amarena and Duetto interacting in a make-believe world. The distinctive packaging is designed like a set of trading cards; each one is special in its own way. What kid (or grown-up) wouldn’t want to collect them all?

Beth Kleber is the founding archivist of the Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives and the School of Visual Arts Archives in New York City. Kleber also curated the exhibition Primary Sources: Documenting SVA and the New York Art World 1966–1985.” She lectures on design history and research, and assists students and researchers with inquiries on everything from Push Pin Studios to the activities of the renowned artists who have taught at SVA. Kleber has also worked in trade publishing and began her librarian and archivist career at New York Public Library. For more from the Glaser/SVA Archives, head to Instagram.