Iconic New York graphic designer Milton Glaser on his uplifting new subway posters

Milton Glaser's new Anti-Trump works for the School of Visual Arts' long-term ad campaign in New York's subways aim to be "the antidote to the narcissism and selfishness."

In this video Milton Glaser explains his latest work and reflects on his iconic career.

Iconic American graphic designer Milton Glaser – known on a global scale for his 'I love New York' logo introduced in 1977 – has created three new inspiring posters for New York subway stations as the antidote to the narcissism and selfishness that Trump has created, Milton says.

His latest public works are for the city’s School of Visual Arts' (SVA) 'Underground Images' advertising campaign. It has been around since the 1950s, with commissioned work from the likes of ex-students Edel Rodriguez and Paula Scher (Pentagram).

Milton’s three anti-Trumpism posters are a commitment to justice and social engagement, he says. The series aims to challenge New York commuters, using convicting text such as "It's not about me, it's about we", and "To dream is human". Milton has designed 24 subway posters for SVA – more than any other artist. He was appointed acting chairman of the College’s board in 2007, after joining the SVA faculty in 1960.

Here Milton explains the meaning behind this poster. 

It's Not About Me, It's About We

“All art ultimately is about collective experience, and 'art makes us better' is a reality that I truly believe in. It is the [antidote to] the narcissism and selfishness that exists in human nature. So [this] is a direct reflection of Trump's attitude toward the world, where everything is about him.

“Again it's an attack on this narcissistic, selfish atmosphere that Trump has managed to create. This is an attempt to compensate for that. In the way that art appeals to the most generous part of the human spirit, this is an attack on the most selfish parts of the human spirit.”

Milton says the role of art and design are roles that include social engagement.

"It's kind of the counterpoint to Trumpism, which is "me for me," and it's a sense that we're part of a larger system, humanity itself,” he says.

"These posters [go] one step further as the threat to that idea becomes more evident with Trumpism."

The School of Visual Arts has commissioned its luminary graphic artists and designers, who are all faculty members of the college, to create posters for the New York City subway platforms. You can see the whole collection here, and we feature a few of Milton's in this story too. The posters are advertisements for the college itself, and act in provocative way to catch attention of thousands of commuters everyday.

Here's what he says about this poster.

To Dream Is Human

"That's a bit of an abstraction, but it applies to something quite specific—Trump's attitude towards immigrants. He refers to them contemptuously as Dreamers and to [their] deportation, that we may throw them out of this country. My attempt here is to transform the word dream, which is used pejoratively by Trump, into an aspirational word. To dream is human; the most, perhaps, important aspect of humankind is the ability to dream," says Milton.

Milton's recent projects include the new packaging for Brooklyn Brewery, and the key art for the final season of Mad Men

This is the final poster in his latest series.

Give Help

"That one is an attack on that which is becoming increasingly clear: Trump's real contempt for Puerto Rico, or for people of colour, and for anybody in trouble who isn't white and rich. This poster—a submerged home, and a beautiful quote by Oscar Wilde, conveys that kindness is worth more than the grandest intention. We've got to deliver on our promise to help our fellow Americans."

Advertisement. Article continues below

Milton's update to his original 'I Love New York' design, following the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. 

Milton's contribution to SVA's 'Underground Images' ad campaign in 1965.

Milton's contribution to SVA's 'Underground Images' ad campaign in 1996.

Advertisement. Article continues below

Milton's contribution to SVA's 'Underground Images' ad campaign in 1967.

Milton's contribution to SVA's 'Underground Images' ad campaign in 1967.