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An Evening with Milton Glaser

Last week I had the great pleasure of attending a lecture by famed graphic designer, Milton Glaser.  

Even if you're not familiar with his name, I think you'll recognize his work:

This is his logo work, but be sure to check out his posters and  dimensional work.  So interesting!

The lecture was wonderful!  Milton was funny and self-deprecating.  He shared some wonderful stories and bits and pieces of advice.  Here are just a few of the things that I found particularly interesting:

  • He was asked about the difference between art and design.  He said that sometimes there is design that is art, but for the most part design is functional.  He said that not everything hanging in a museum is art, because art is something that changes you after you've looked at.
  • He was asked how he felt about art and design students who spend all their time on the computer and don't draw.  He clearly felt very strongly on the topic, saying that it's impossible to understand things visually unless you draw them.  I'm paraphrasing, but he said something along the lines of, "You never really see something until you draw it."
  • He talked a bit about how Picasso's career influenced him.  (This is something I've been saying about myself for years, so definitely a point of commonality.)  Essentially, Picasso loved to master a skill or technique (cubism, monumentalism, his blue period, sculpture, etc.) and then as soon as he mastered it, he would move on.  Milton said that he is always trying to do things that he doesn't know how to do.  (Me too!)
  • My favorite part of the lecture was brief slide show where he took us through his design process.  He said that people always think of the design process as a straight line.  You have an idea and you just keep refining it and refining it and refining it.  Milton said, that's just not true.  It's a process of abandoning ideas and randomness.  He took us through the process of designing a poster and showed how he just stumbled through ideas until he finally found what felt right for him.  (This is definitely how my process works too!)
  • He recently designed three clocks and the moderator asked him how he approached that task.  Milton said that he thought about why someone would want a clock these days.  It's not for telling time.  Everyone has cell phones and wristwatches and so why a wall clock?  He said that he decided it was for atmosphere -- something whimsical.  And so he created clocks with that in mind.

All in all, it was a very inspiring evening.  I walked away agreeing with a lot of what he said, disagreeing with some of it.  But mostly feeling excited about the possibilities.  And isn't that the best feeling in the whole world?!

Thanks for stopping by!