The NYC of today bears little resemblance to the city in the late 70s. With increasing crime, financial woes (to the brink of bankruptcy), and crumbling infrastructure, morale among inhabitants was decidedly low.
One could argue that Milton Glaser's seminal "I Love New York" design marked a turning point for Gotham. As Glaser himself said, "Suddenly the city simultaneously got fed up and said, ‘It’s our city, we’re going to take it back, we’re not going to allow this stuff to happen'... Part of that moment was this campaign.”
Indeed, declaring yourself to be a New Yorker and actually having the fortitude to stay a full-time resident of the city merits a kind of red badge of courage.
Even though it was originally part of a NY state tourism campaign, the logo and the city have become intertwined. It's ubiquitous yet potent; sublimely kitschy yet meaningful; interpreted over the years as everything from a banal yet celebratory mark of allegiance to a rallying cry for civic unity during times of duress, as when Glaser reconfigured his original design to say "I love NY More Than Ever" after 9/11. The "Ode to New York" campaign for NYCxDESIGN is another such moment.
"An Ode to NYC" poster campaign is NYCxDESIGN's tribute to the spirit of Glaser's original design, as well as a city-wide effort to restore morale, which has been left somewhat battered (but never broken) by the disproportionate toll of the pandemic.
The posters are the collective output of 21 local designers. On display during the festival throughout in all five boroughs, the artwork can be seen throughout the teeming metropolis, at showrooms, restaurants, and retail shops; at marquee locales and off-the-beaten path; and at quintessential NYC attractions like Fulton Center, the Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center, and on-board the city's Ferry fleet.
Content varies from the glib (above) to the purely scenic, from weightier matters (below) to artistic homages in painterly styles that evoke Monet, Seurat, and even Georges Braque.
If you happen to be out and about in NYC's fabulous boroughs and witness these posters interacting with the life of the city, please send us a photo. We'd like to do our part in showing the rest of the world that N.Y. is still standing, still exploding with the vibrant, hectic, beautiful, mad, celebratory, melancholy mania that characterizes the greatest city in the world. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org and identify the location. We'll update this post with the best images. And see Designer Pages Media for more on NYCxDESIGN. Much love to NYC!