A Positive Message Post-Pandemic
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams, business, labor and civic leaders from across the five boroughs have launched We ❤️ NYC, a campaign to showcase the city’s strengths and mobilize New Yorkers to make sure New York remains the greatest city in the world post-pandemic. “This We ❤️ NYC campaign will help to capture that energy and preserve the city’s spirit by encouraging New Yorkers of every background to come together, get involved, and make a positive change in their community,” Governor Hochul said.
The mark is a trademarked adaptation of Milton Glaser’s iconic design for the “I ❤️ NY” campaign that launched in 1977 to promote tourism in New York State and that GDUSA readers have ranked among the top 5 logos of the modern era.) Graham Clifford, the art director behind the new emblem, explains that he wanted to give the logo a “more of a modern twist.” Clifford used a font adapted from the one on subway signs because “the subway system is the veins or the beating heart of the city. It’s a place where you can bring everybody together and we’re cognizant of that.” The ad campaign was about a year in the making, according to Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, a business lobbying group leading the effort. “This was a time for ‘we,’ not ‘me,’” she said. “The message is ‘This takes all of us.’”
Reaction to the update has been mixed at best. One Twitter user said the new logo felt “emoji-like” and lacked the touch that had made the prior version timeless or iconic, and another pointed out that aside from the unflattering typeface, the motif seems to read as “We NYC Heart.” Tag Hartman-Simkins, director of design at Futurism.com described the design as “feedbacked into the ground.” He argues: “I can’t image any person with a background in graphic design made that thing without a committee of bland politicians sanding away its edges until they felt safe enough to unveil that to the public.”
Ben Stephens, a freelance copywriter, wrote that the iconic power of Glaser’s design comes from “its simplicity, its boldness, the foursquare arrangement of its elements.” He added, “The original looks like the voice of a city. The new one looks like the voice of an investment bank or possibly a healthcare provider.” But the visual artist Marilyn Minter was more diplomatic: “I’m generally in favor of anything that brings New Yorkers together. I think this is a special place.”