New York has a new logo as part of a recent citywide campaign intended to quell concerns about the city’s future and foster civic pride—unfortunately, not everyone ❤️’s it.
In a city marked by constant flux, New Yorkers didn’t take kindly to the logo change. The new “We ❤️ NYC” logo, launched by city and state officials on Monday, is a new take on the iconic 1976 Milton Glaser–designed “I ❤️ NY” campaign infinitely plastered across t-shirts and key chains, among other novelties, throughout the city. The original drawing, which was created in the back of a taxi and drawn in red crayon on scrap paper, is currently held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
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It’s safe to say that many Americans are not feeling “it” following the Covid-19 pandemic, ever-rising inflation, and last summer’s Supreme Court upheaval. New Yorkers specifically have seen an unprecedented increase in rent, which has lead to a rise in violence and homelessness. In true capitalist fashion, the city government is pushing a rebrand to solve these problems.
“Let’s all come together no matter if it’s volunteering to clean up parks, volunteering at a homeless shelter. It’s about all contributing together because this is the city we love,” said New York City mayor Eric Adams explaining the sentiment behind the updated logo in an interview with CNBC.
New York Times journalist Emma G. Fitzsimmons solicited reactions to the city’s new ad campaign on Twitter.
In response, graphic designer Ben Stephens wrote, “The impact of the iconic ‘I ❤️ NY’ comes from its simplicity, its boldness, the foursquare arrangement of its elements. This, by contrast, is all lopsided and incoherent (as in, it does not cohere). The *kind of* 3D heart jutting out feels oddly *less* substantial, uglier, detached.”
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.”
Barbara Ortutay, a technology writer for the Associated Press, chimed in, “Beyond the questionable design, the wording also doesn’t make sense. Who is ‘we’?”
Amid ongoing confusion and disappointment, Graham Clifford, the designer and art director who oversaw the new logo, explained to the New York Times that the idea was to “give it more of a modern twist.”
Notably, the “I ❤️ NY” campaign was last redesigned following the September 11 terrorist attacks to “I ❤️ NY MORE THAN EVER”.
The president of the Partnership for New York City Kathryn Wylde told the Gothamist that this effort to to create a more community-centric campaign among New Yorkers was a year in the making.
While the logo has certainly spurred debate, perhaps we’re all just longing for that surreal dose of nostalgia that takes us back just for a minute to simpler times. Despite officials best efforts to veil recent crises with a new future-forward logo, New Yorkers don’t seem to be buying it.