Happy Birthday: Milton Glaser Turns 90

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Today Milton Glaser celebrates his 90th birthday — a milestone to be sure, but not just a chronological one. Of even greater importance is the stunning impact that all the continuous years of creative productivity has had and continues to have on art and design. Yes, he’s still creating a wide range of, well, just about everything. The SVA Milton Glaser Archive (and this video about the Archive) testifies to his incomparable and incredible legacy.

Making Magazine Magic

To acknowledge Glaser’s immense contributions, rather than show 90 examples symbolizing his 90 years (which was my initial instinct), below is the first cover of New York Magazine, which he co-founded with Clay Felker in 1968 (and will be featured in his forthcoming book, Mag Men, co-authored with Walter Bernard) and was design director until 1977.

1968 was the year I started attending NYU as an English major. I bought this very issue and many subsequent ones for the simple reason that it was the coolest magazine to hit the newsstands at the time. My parents read the stodgy old New Yorker and I worked for the upstart new Underground Press, but when I wanted to know what was really happening on Manhattan island — a bridge, so to speak, between downtown and midtown — I voraciously paged through every number of New York and continued to do so for over a decade.

However, this first issue was the only one I have saved for over 50 years (I would have kept them all but I’d be accused of hoarding). It is modest in look and feel, but unprecedented at the time. Thank you Milton for this and, of course, hundreds of other meaningful additions to my cultural world (including your role at SVA). Yet for me, of all the icons of illustration and design, New York Magazine speaks volumes.

Milton Glaser turns 90 in June 2019.