I’m lukewarm on this logo…

rhode island logo milton glaser… but not on Milton Glaser’s coolness.

At almost 90 years old, Milton Glaser is still a dynamic force in the design world. His firm is responsible for the new identity promoting Rhode Island. Despite the designer’s reputation, reactions to the logo are mixed. Many people see it as amateurish, finding fault with everything from the overall concept and tagline to minor (but important) design details.

In an interview about the project, Milton says, “…you can’t deny the intrinsic quality of the place — in this case the idea of water, sailing and the blue sky — is really characteristic of your experience of Rhode Island.”

i love new york milton glaserProbably best known for his iconic graphic promoting New York City, Milton says that logo is so durable is because it makes people feel good when they look at it. “I was trying to do that in effect by creating a sense of pleasure with the association with Rhode Island.”

Milton has never been a trendy designer, and the Rhode Island logo harkens back to the abstract approaches of several decades ago. While it’s not my favorite piece of Milton’s work, I’m glad he’s still thinking deeply and designing accordingly. He’s done it all — graphic design, illustration, typography, writing, you-name-it. In 2009 Pres­i­dent Obama made him the first graphic designer to receive the National Medal for the Arts. His body of visual communication work, produced over the last 60 years or so, gives me something to aspire to.