Be Careful with That Logo!
There’s currently a lot of talk going around about the redesign of the iconic “I Love NY” logo that was originally created by Milton Glaser back in the 1970s. If you haven’t seen the newly redesigned version, it reads “We Love NYC.” According to Kathryn Wylde, President and Chief Executive of the Partnership for New York City, the logo redesign was part of a larger effort to cut through the divisiveness and negativity that came with the pandemic.
It’s a noble effort for sure, but, as both a graphic designer and a former New Yorker, I’m going to chime in with the majority in giving this new logo a failing grade. From a design point of view, the addition of the “we” and the letter “C” feels like a milquetoast move from a city where boldness and expressiveness have always been part of the residents’ DNA. Truth be told, the whole thing just feels a bit clunky.
The original Glaser-designed logo, utilizing the bulbous typewriter font that was so ubiquitous in the 1970s, may not be described as “beautiful,” but it stands strong as an iconic product of an era when headlines in advertising tended to be roundish and purposely garish. The original logo certainly struck a nerve back in the day, helping to rebuild civic pride at a time when the city was going through a particularly rough period.
While it was originally designed to help promote tourism for the entire state, the Big Apple took ownership of the logo in the end. How do I know? I spent the first half of my life as a New Yorker when that original logo was plastered everywhere.
The I Love NY logo is one of several iconic logos – including Burberry, Saint Laurent (formerly Yves Saint Laurent), and Ferragamo – that have gone through recent redesigns. Or consider the update of the classic Westinghouse logo from Pentagram’s Paula Scher.
While it’s not uncommon for logos to get an update to keep them in sync with the times, the best redesigns retain iconic elements and are careful to respect the legacy of the brand.
At Cronin Creative, we strive to design logos that walk that fine line between current and classic so that they stand the test of time. Your logo should last for years and maybe get reevaluated down the road to see if it’s still working. But remember, like our beloved I Love NY logo, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.