Design Hero: Milton Glaser — Poster

The age of modern design has been marked time and time again by the works of Milton Glaser, who has been redefining the industry for the past 60 years. To celebrate Glaser’s life and work, this collection of designed posters, booklets, and motion design aims to communicate his work to new audiences.

Researching Milton Glaser

Birthday and location: June 26, 1929; The Bronx, New York City
Death day and location: June 26, 2020 (aged 91) Manhattan, New York City

Education: Highschool of Music and Art, Cooper Union, Fulbright Scholarship, the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy

Career Path:

  • 1954 Founded PushPin studios — powerful design influence
  • 1968 Founded New York Magazine w/ Clay Felker — president & director until 1977
  • 1983 Founded WBMG w/ Walter Bernard — Publication design Firm, designs magazines, newspapers: Times, Washington Post, etc etc
  • 1974 Founded Milton Glaser, Inc. — wide range of work: logo, stationary, brochure, signage, annual reports, exhibits, interiors, hotels, illustrations, work for interiors and decorative programs of restaurants in the World Trade Center, many other things, and design consultant for companies

Design Philosophy
“I always thought that specialization was early death, and style has always been something that I’ve both embraced and deplored”

Awards and Recognitions:

  • The Society of Illustrators Gold Medal
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum
  • One-person exhibit at MoMa
  • National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama


  • Giorgio Morandi (mentor from Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna)
  • Jean Michel Folon (friend) — French Artist (made The Conversation together) accordion fold book

Inspired by:

  • Herbert Bayer—graphic designer
  • George Salter — book cover designer (professor at his college)
  • Lester Beall — designer and poster artist
  • Paul Rand — designer
  • Joseph Baum — restaurateur client

Mood board

Before starting the poster, I created a mood board of Glaser’s work, his image, typefaces he used, iconography relating to him, and color palettes he used. I selected a wide range of his work from different eras in his career to understand the breath of his work and his style.

I learned that Milton Glaser’s style utilizes a rainbow of colors as well as black and white. Generally, his works use black and white as the main composition and colors as the accents but occasionally he flips this ratio. Some of the typefaces he commonly uses are Glaser Stensil and Baby Teeth (both of which he designed) as well as Futura and Helvetica.

Poster Sketches

After gathering research and design motifs, I synthesized Milton Glaser into different poster sketches. I found myself leaning towards focusing on the portrait of Milton Glaser, partly due to my own preference and to Glaser’s style of portraiture.

Because Milton Glaser commonly uses portraits in his work, I wanted to bring some of that into the poster. For the sketches, I tried to incorporate his image in the same style that he does, which is very direct and centered. I also wanted to add some of his geometric elements into the work to reference his colorful yet flat style. Here are some images of his work that I was inspired by:

From the critique session, it seemed that most people gravitated towards the “Milton throwing up” drawing and the drawing of Milton made out of Bob Dylan curls.

I personally enjoyed the drawing on the right more because it had more of my style within the composition; however, I think that the sketch on the left has more potential. So, from these sketches I developed two posters.

Technical Notes
Poster dimensions: 300 dpi printing / 19.25*31.75 intended dimensions
Tile Printing: Page set up/11x17 paper/100% // Marks and Bleed/turn on Trim Marks/turn on bleed (document bleed settings)/turn on registration marks for tiling // General/scaling/tile full pages/scale w:100/overlap 30–40 pts // Setup/continue/color quality/advanced/all options to neutral grays: 4-color

Poster Round One

Two Poster Directions: “Milton Dissected” and “Milton Yelling”

As I was working on the two posters, I had more fun with the poster on the left than the right, but that was partially attributed to my personal attachment to the concept of the left poster. However, I think that the outcome of the poster on the left was not as impactful as I wanted. The poster on the right was not as developed, but it had more potential.

Critique and Comments

Milton Dissected:

  • Integrate his work from the timeline better
  • The eyes draw attention

Milton Yelling:

  • Clear Parody of the Bob Dylan poster
  • Add more instances of his work
  • Integrate the I Heart NY logo
  • Work with the paragraph to make it less random

Technical Notes
Changing images to CMYK: photoshop->image->image mode->CMYK->save as TIFF to keep image color profile->no image compression/dont include layers (ZIP)

Poster Round Two

Iteration 1

Some of the adjustments I made were making the Milton curls become less colorful as the cloud goes up. This decision was driven by the limitations of hierarchy for colorful illustration on a colorful background.

This iteration has more of his work embedded into the poster. I also darkened the background and added drop shadows to the face, cloud, and letters. The drop shadows were for more dimension, but I am not sure if it makes the form confusing.


  • Flip the image horizontally so that the eye moves from left to right better
  • Enlarge Milton Glaser more and use more colors to make it stand out more?
  • Move the A in Milton Glaser so it is more readable
  • Something about the name of the type beign too tight?
  • Change all the images to be less blurry
  • Change the background color (try the pink in the corner)
  • Try something with the quote? make it more integrated
  • Integrate or remove the hand written “I Love NY” because the eye focuses on hand written text.

After this critique, I got a lot of feedback on things I never thought of as well as some feedback on points that I was unsure about. Some of the people who took a look at my poster did not recognize the silhouette as a person yelling, so I decided to take away the drop shadow and include more of the chin to hopefully make it more clear. The next big task was to flip all the elements so that there would be more movement from left to right for the viewer and to alter some of the type.

Poster Round Three

Testing alterations in type and color

From the feedback, I decide to move to slightly more saturated colors for the background. I also changed the paragraph type to be tighter and added a shadow on the clouds to give it more dimension.

Poster Round Three

This version has the drop shadows removed and has some shadowing within the cloud. I think that the shadows within the cloud helps differentiate different sections, which makes it easier to digest.

Edits to Poster round three
Final poster



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