Monday, June 29, 2009

How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer 3: Milton Glaser

The third in the series of blog posts where I'm sharing what struck me about each interview from the book, "How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer" by Debbie Millman.

Que: What’s your first creative memory?
Ans: …I was eight years old, and I had rheumatic fever. I was at home and in bed for a year. In a certain sense, the only thing that kept me alive was this: Every day , my mother would bring me a pound of modeling clay, and I would create a little universe out of houses, tanks, warriors. At the end of the day I would pound them into oblivion and look forward to the next day when I could recreate the world. (my first thought was – wow, what a waste and how destructive)

So I knew that my life was linked. My life and my psychology and my sense of self were linked to making things and the satisfaction that I derived from making things. The fact that I could maintain my attentiveness the whole day to make things was a very powerful stimulus in my life.

Que: How did you feel at the end of the day when you dismantled your creation?
Ans: That was another great part. Dismantling it meant I would have another pound of clay to start again.

Que: So there was no sorrow?
Ans: Quite the contrary. The pleasure was in making it and destroying it. I have never thought about this but basically, I realized that in order to have the experience, I had to eliminate what I had done.

I think that, to some degree, this is part of my character as a designer: To keep moving and not get stuck in my own past. (now it all made sense) This is what I try very very hard to do.

…I think this is the way you stay alive professionally.

The infamous I love New York logo.
© Milton Glaser.

© Milton Glaser.

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