Inspiring Story of “I Love NY” Logo


What’s the first thing that comes to your mind, when you think of New York? Is it the wild nightlife or the iconic architecture? Noisy neighborhoods or Yellow cabs? 

For the majority of people, first thing that comes to mind is the famous I Love NY logo, – probably one of the most famous logos in the word, and most certainly The Most Famous Tourism Logo. 

It’s nearly impossible to find someone who hasnt come across this logo design – whether in its original shape and design, or in its mimicked forms. Ever since it was first created, several brands have used the concept to inspire those same feelings. 

Yes, the logo is omnipresent now, and it inspires the hope and greatness of the city where anything is possible, however the history of the logo may surprise you, since it was made as an attempt to help New York City’s failing economy of 1970s by saving its tourism industry. 

I Love NY logo was created by designed Milton Glaser in 1977.  I Love New York is is a slogan and official state song of the New York State, it promotes not only the city, but the state as a whole and the trademark is owned by the New York State Department of Economic Development. Interesting fact: I Love NY logo design is one of the first instances of using a heart in the place of word love in the logos and branding, and ever since, that design element has been imitated across different industries of all kinds.


The Logo was created in the back of the taxi. Graphic designer Milton Glaser sketched the design on the a piece of paper using bright red crayon. This original iteration still exists today, and is on display in the Museum of Modern Art. Click to see original.

It was 1970s and New York City was suffering from an economic crisis, and it made things worse when President Ford denied federal aid to rescue the city from bankruptcy. At the same time, New York City was experiencing historically high crime rates and drug usage. Bad publicity gave NY a reputation that discouraged tourism, further destroying the failing economy of the city. New York needed a way to boost its morale.

Deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Commerce – William S. Doyle and Mark Donnelly from the Governor’s staff decided to run a marketing campaign to improve the New York City’s brand. They hired an advertising agency called Wells Rich Greene to conduct a State marketing campaign. 

Milton Glaser was invited by the advertising agency to work on the logo and he jumped on the project pro bono. 

Marketing campaign itself, was expected to go for months, but the way logo blew up, campaign ended up sticking around for years. It became ingrained into New York culture.

The logo became a huge success… Thousands of tourists started moving in to the New York City and the more tourists visited the city, the more popular the logo became.

The logo became even more popular after the 9/11, it became a symbol of hope, unity and strength. Something that tied people together and gave them a sense of strength to move on. 

From the series #DiscoverNewYork #IloveNY #NewYork #GottaLoveNY #GottaRelo
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