On June 26, his 91st birthday, celebrated graphic designer Milton Glaser died, leaving a six-decade-plus legacy of iconic and eye-catching art. From his Manhattan studio, Glaser created posters for Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin, logos for Brooklyn Brewery, DC Comics and New York City itself: the world-famous "I Heart NY." In the realm of publishing, he was best known as a co-founder of New York magazine, but Glaser's visual wit and whimsy also graced the covers of one of your favorite reads: Wine Spectator.
“He loved working and solving problems with good humor,” Walter Bernard, Glaser’s design partner, told Unfiltered via email. “He was always ready for the challenge, and it never stopped him from saying, ‘Let’s have lunch.’” In the late 1990s, Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator, invited the pair to put their imaginations to wine. The result was several covers published in 1998 with imaginative twists on topics like California Chardonnay and "A World of Values."
A selection of covers designed by Milton Glaser and Walter Bernard
“The first, basically designed by Milton himself, was called ‘Editors' Picks,’” said Bernard, describing the Jan. 31, 1998, cover. “[It] showed all the categories of wines rated on an unusual bottle design.” For the May 15, 1998, global values issue, the designers conceived a vision of wine bottles labeled with atlas-style maps, explained Bernard. The "Encyclopedia of California Wine” issue (Dec. 15, 1998) resembles the classic leatherbound reference book: "We designed this cover to depict a more scholarly, authoritative look," said Bernard.
Wine had a personal place in the late designer’s life. According to Bernard, not only did Glaser enjoy cooking and food, his dinners were regularly joined by a wine match, with northern Italian reds being his own top picks. “Having spent a Fulbright year in Italy and spending much time in France, how could he not develop a taste for good wine?” said Bernard.
“Milton’s iconic images will be with us for a long, long time,” Bernard continued; Glaser even received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2009, the first graphic designer to earn the honor. “We will miss his wisdom, his optimistic outlook and his passion for life and work.” A passion paired, from time to time, with a glass of wine.
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