The Daily Heller: And Another Thing …

Posted inThe Daily Heller

No, it is not Valentine’s Day all over again (heart heavens)! But when I was a guest on “All Of It” on WNYC last week (with Beth Kleber and Mirko Ilic) talking about how the current “We [Heart] NYC” logo missed a beat, one caller expressed conviction that the famous rebus Milton Glaser had produced was the first use of the red heart symbol in such a context. I tried to assure him that Glaser was referring to an accepted vernacular and popular way for lovers to write affectionate salutations—sometimes along with the symbol for kisses and hugs, XOXO.

The simplified graphic form of a sacred heart was devised around 1415, so when Glaser conceived of the “I [Heart] New York” logo while sketching in the back of a taxi cab in 1977, he was doubtless mindful of its ubiquity. Here are some early 20th-century examples to prove the point.

Images from “Icons: Valentines” edited by Jim Heimann / foreword by me (Taschen)