Milton Glaser’s Stylish Album Covers for Bob Dylan, The Band, Nina Simone, John Cage & Many More

Milton Glaser hardly needs an introduction. But if the name somehow doesn’t ring a bell, “Glaser’s many contributions to pop culture,” as Ayun Halliday writes in a previous post, certainly will. These include “the  I ❤NY logo, the psychedelic portrait of a rainbow-haired Bob Dylan, DC Comics’ classic bullet logo.” All images that “confer undeniable authority.” Many children of the sixties know Glaser well for his album covers, such as the halo photo on the front of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, within whose covers purchasers found the rainbow-haired poster.

Glaser designed the album art for The Band’s classic Music from Pink, this time stepping back and putting one of Dylan’s paintings on the cover. He designed covers for classics like Peter, Paul & Mary’s The Best Of: (Ten) Years Together and Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Lightnin’! Volumes One and Two.




“Glaser had a long history with record labels,” writes designer Reagan Ray. “According to Discogs, he was credited with the design of 255 albums over the course of 60 years. His relationship with record label executive Kevin Eggers led him to explore a variety of covers for the Poppy and Tomato record labels, including the career of Townes Van Zandt.”

Glaser illustrated rock, folk, blues, jazz…. “Classical album covers never get much attention in graphic design history,” Ray points out. But “his colorful paintings were interesting and unique in an otherwise stuffy genre.” He even illustrated an album by Al Caiola’s Magic Guitars called Music for Space Squirrels, whatever that is. Did he listen to all of these albums? Who knows? Glaser left us in June, but not before dispensing “Ten Rules for Work and Life” that set the bar high for aspiring artists.

One of his rules: “Style is not to be trusted. Style change is usually linked to economic factors, as all of you know who have read Marx. Also fatigue occurs when people see too much of the same thing too often.” If anyone would know, it was Glaser. “His work is everywhere,” writes Ray, “and his legacy is vast.” He also had a very recognizable style. See a much larger selection of Glaser’s album covers, curated by Ray from over 200 albums, here. And visit an online collection of Glaser’s other graphic design work at the School of Visual Arts.

Related Content:

Milton Glaser (RIP) Presents 10 Rules for Life & Work: Wisdom from the Celebrated Designer

Art Record Covers: A Book of Over 500 Album Covers Created by Famous Visual Artists

Enter the Cover Art Archive: A Massive Collection of 800,000 Album Covers from the 1950s through 2018

The Iconic Album Covers of Hipgnosis: Meet “The Beatles of Album Cover Art” Who Created Unforgettable Designs for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel & Many More

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Milton Glaser (RIP) Explains Why We Must Overcome the Fear of Failure, Take Risks & Discover Our True Potential

Milton Glaser died last week at the age of 91, a long life that included decade upon decade as the best-known name in graphic design. Within the profession he became as well-known as several of his designs did in the wider world: the Bob Dylan poster, logos for companies like DC Comics, the Glaser Stencil font, and above all  I ❤ NY. Glaser may have become an icon, but he didn't become a brand — "one of my most despised words," he says in the interview clip above. He also acknowledges that specialization, "having something no one else has," is the sine qua non of "financial success and notoriety." But "the consequence of specialization and success is that it hurts you. It hurts you because it basically doesn't aid in your development." When we succeed we usually do so because people come to rely on us to do one particular thing, and to do it well — in other words, never to fail at it.

But as Glaser reminds us, "development comes from failure. People begin to get better when they fail." As an example of development through failure he holds up Pablo Picasso: "Whenever Picasso learned how to do something, he abandoned it, and as a result of that, in terms of his development as an artist, the results were extraordinary."




We may, of course, question the relevance of this comparison, since many would describe Picasso as an artistic genius, and not a few would cast Glaser himself in similar terms. Surely both of them, each in his own way, inhabited a world apart from the rest of us. And yet, don't the "the rest of us" wonder from time to about our our own potential for genius? Haven't we, at times, felt nearly convinced that we could achieve great things if only we weren't so afraid to try.

Glaser breaks this fear down into constituent threats: the "condemnation of others," the "criticism of critics and other experts and even your friends and relatives," the prospect that "you won't get any more work." But "the real embarrassing issue about failure is your own acknowledgment that you're not a genius, that you're not as good as you thought you were." We can't bear to acknowledge "that we really don't exactly know what we're doing," an inescapable reality in the process of self-development. But there is a solution, and in Glaser's view only one solution: "You must embrace failure, you must admit what is, you must find out what you're capable of doing and what you're not capable of doing." You must "subject yourself to the possibility that you are not as good as you want to be, hope to be, or as others think you are." And as the famously never-retired Glaser surely knew, you must keep on doing it, no matter how long you've been celebrated as a professional, a master, an icon, a genius.

Related Content:

Milton Glaser’s 10 Rules for Life & Work: The Celebrated Designer Dispenses Wisdom Gained Over His Long Life & Career

Saul Bass’ Advice for Designers: Makes Something Beautiful and Don’t Worry About the Money

Paulo Coelho on How to Handle the Fear of Failure

The Long Game of Creativity: If You Haven’t Created a Masterpiece at 30, You’re Not a Failure

“Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better”: How Samuel Beckett Created the Unlikely Mantra That Inspires Entrepreneurs Today

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Milton Glaser (RIP) Presents 10 Rules for Life & Work: Wisdom from the Celebrated Designer

“None of us has really the ability to understand our path until it’s over,” the celebrated graphic designer Milton Glaser (RIP) muses less than a minute into the above video.

Glaser’s many contributions to pop culture---the  I ❤ NY logo, the psychedelic portrait of a rainbow-haired Bob Dylan, DC Comics’ classic bullet logo---confer undeniable authority. To the outside eye, he seems to have had a pretty firm handle on the path he traveled for lo these many decades. Aspirant designers would do well to give extra consideration to any advice he might share.

As would the rest of us.

His “Ten Things I Have Learned,” originally delivered as part of a talk to the AIGA---a venerable membership organization for design professionals---qualifies as solid life advice of general interest.




Yes, the Internet spawns bullet-pointed tips for better living the way spring rains yield mushrooms, but Glaser, a self-described “child of modernism” who's still a contender, does not truck in pithy Instagram-friendly aphorisms. Instead, his list is born of reflection on the various turns of a long and mostly satisfying creative career.

We’ve excerpted some of his most essential points below, and suggest that those readers who are still in training give special emphasis to number seven. Don't place too much weight on number nine until you’ve established a solid work ethic. (See number four for more on that.)

MILTON GLASER”S TEN RULES FOR WORK AND LIFE (& A BONUS JOKE ABOUT A RABBIT).

1. YOU CAN ONLY WORK FOR PEOPLE THAT YOU LIKE

Some years ago I realized that… all the work I had done that was meaningful and significant came out of an affectionate relationship with a client.

2. IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE NEVER HAVE A JOB

Here, Glaser quotes composer John CageNever have a job, because if you have a job someday someone will take it away from you and then you will be unprepared for your old age. 

3. SOME PEOPLE ARE TOXIC AVOID THEM.

Glaser recommends putting a questionable companion to a gestalt therapy test. If, after spending time with that person “you are more tired, then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy, you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.”

4. PROFESSIONALISM IS NOT ENOUGH (or THE GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF THE GREAT)

Glaser concedes that a record of dependable excellence is something to look for in a brain surgeon or auto mechanic, but for those in the arts, “continuous transgression” is the quality to cultivate. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success. 

5. LESS IS NOT NECESSARILY MORE

I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate. ‘Just enough is more.’

6. STYLE IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED

Style change is usually linked to economic factors, as all of you know who have read Marx. Also fatigue occurs when people see too much of the same thing too often.

7. HOW YOU LIVE CHANGES YOUR BRAIN

The brain is the most responsive organ of the body…. Thought changes our life and our behavior. I also believe that drawing works in the same way…. Drawing also makes you attentive. It makes you pay attention to what you are looking at, which is not so easy.

8. DOUBT IS BETTER THAN CERTAINTY

One of the signs of a damaged ego is absolute certainty. Schools encourage the idea of not compromising and defending your work at all costs. Well, the issue at work is usually all about the nature of compromise…. Ideally, making everyone win through acts of accommodation is desirable.

9. IT DOESN’T MATTER

Glaser credits essayist Roger Rosenblatt’s Rules for Aging (misidentifying the title as Aging Gracefully) with helping him articulate his philosophy here.  It doesn’t matter what you think. It does not matter if you are late or early, if you are here or there, if you said it or didn’t say it, if you are clever or if you were stupid. If you were having a bad hair day or a no hair day or if your boss looks at you cockeyed or your boyfriend or girlfriend looks at you cockeyed, if you are cockeyed. If you don’t get that promotion or prize or house or if you do – it doesn’t matter.

10. TELL THE TRUTH

It’s interesting to observe that in the new AIGA’s code of ethics there is a significant amount of useful information about appropriate behavior towards clients and other designers, but not a word about a designer’s relationship to the public. If we were licensed, telling the truth might become more central to what we do.

BONUS JOKE

A butcher was opening his market one morning and as he did a rabbit popped his head through the door. The butcher was surprised when the rabbit inquired ‘Got any cabbage?’ The butcher said ‘This is a meat market – we sell meat, not vegetables.’ The rabbit hopped off. The next day the butcher is opening the shop and sure enough the rabbit pops his head round and says ‘You got any cabbage?’ The butcher now irritated says ‘Listen you little rodent, I told you yesterday we sell meat, we do not sell vegetables and the next time you come here I am going to grab you by the throat and nail those floppy ears to the floor.’ The rabbit disappeared hastily and nothing happened for a week. Then one morning the rabbit popped his head around the corner and said ‘Got any nails?’ The butcher said ‘No.’ The rabbit said ‘Ok. Got any cabbage?’’

Read Milton Glaser’s “Ten Things I Have Learned” in its entirety here.

Note: This post originally appeared on our site in April 2017.

Related Content:

Milton Glaser Draws Shakespeare & Explains Why Drawing is the Key to Understanding Life

Mickey Mouse In Vietnam: The Underground Anti-War Animation from 1968, Co-Created by Milton Glaser

Dieter Rams Lists the 10 Timeless Principles of Good Design–Backed by Music by Brian Eno

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Exquisite 2300-Year-Old Scythian Woman’s Boot Preserved in the Frozen Ground of the Altai Mountains

Shoes and boots, show where your feet have gone. —Guy Sebeus, 10 New Scythian Tales 

In the age of fast fashion, when planned obsolescence, cheap materials, and shoddy construction have become the norm, how startling to encounter a stylish women’s boot that’s truly built to last…

…like, for 2300 years.

It helps to have landed in a Scythian burial mound in Siberia’s Altai Mountains, where the above boot was discovered along with a number of nomadic afterlife essentials—jewelry, food, weapons, and clothing.




These artifacts (and their mummified owners) were well preserved thanks to permafrost and the painstaking attention the Scythians paid to their dead.

As curators at the British Museum wrote in advance of the 2017 exhibition Scythians: Warriors of Ancient Siberia:

Nomads do not leave many traces, but when the Scythians buried their dead they took care to equip the corpse with the essentials they thought they needed for the perpetual rides of the afterlife. They usually dug a deep hole and built a wooden structure at the bottom. For important people these resembled log cabins that were lined and floored with dark felt – the roofs were covered with layers of larch, birch bark and moss. Within the tomb chamber, the body was placed in a log trunk coffin, accompanied by some of their prized possessions and other objects. Outside the tomb chamber but still inside the grave shaft, they placed slaughtered horses, facing east.

18th-century watercolor illustration of a Scythian burial mound. Archive of the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg

The red cloth-wrapped leather bootie, now part of the State Hermitage Museum's collection, is a stunner, trimmed in tin, pyrite crystals, gold foil and glass beads secured with sinew. Fanciful shapes—ducklings, maybe?—decorate the seams. But the true mindblower is the remarkable condition of its sole.

Speculation is rampant on Reddit, as to this bottom layer’s pristine condition:

Maybe the boot belonged to a high-ranking woman who wouldn’t have walked much…

Or Scythians spent so much time on horseback, their shoe leather was spared…

Or perhaps it’s a high quality funeral garment, reserved for exclusively post-mortem use…

The British Museum curators’ explanation is that Scythians seated themselves on the ground around a communal fire, subjecting their soles to their neighbors’ scrutiny.

Become better acquainted with Scythian boots by making a pair, as ancient Persian empire reenactor Dan D’Silva did, documenting the process in a 3-part series on his blog. How you bedazzle the soles is up to you.

via ArtifactsHub

Related Content:

Stylish 2,000-Year-Old Roman Shoe Found in a Well

The Ancient Egyptians Wore Fashionable Striped Socks, New Pioneering Imaging Technology Imaging Reveals

The Ancient Romans First Committed the Sartorial Crime of Wearing Socks with Sandals, Archaeological Evidence Suggests

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Construct Your Own Bayeux Tapestry with This Free Online App

A wise woman once quoth that one man’s adult coloring book is another’s Medieval Tapestry Edit.

If taking crayons to empty outlines of mandalas, floral patterns, and forest and ocean scenes has failed to calm your mind, the Historic Tale Construction Kit may cure what ails you.

Programmers Leonard Allain-Launay and Mathieu Thoretton and software engineer Maria Cosmina Etegan created the online kit as a tribute to a late, great, early 21st-century application designed by Academy of Media Arts Cologne students Björn Karnebogen and Gerd Jungbluth.




They separated out various elements of the Bayeux Tapestry, allowing you to freely mess around with 1000-year-old images of warriors, commoners, beasts, and buildings:

Craft thy own Bayeux Tapestry

Slay mischievous beasts

Rule the kingdom

Rotate, resize, clone

Choose a background, add some text in your choice of Bayeux or Augusta font and you’ll have done your bit to revive the fading art of the Medieval Macro (or meme.)

The original tapestry used some 224 feet of wool-embroidered linen to recount the Battle of Hastings and the events leading up to it.

You need not have such lofty aims.

Perhaps test the waters with a Father’s Day greeting, resizing and rotating until you feel ready to export as a PNG.

The interface is extremely user friendly, kind of like a tech-savvy 11th-century cousin of the online drag-and-drop graphic design tool, Canva.

The Historic Tale Construction Kit’s most impressive bells and whistles reside in the paintbrush tool in the lower left corner, which allows you to lay down great swaths of folks, birds, or corpses in a single sweep.

Your palette will be limited to the shades deployed by the Bayeux embroiderers, who obtained their colors from plants—dyer’s woadmadder, and dyer’s rocket (or weld).

The text, of course, is entirely up to you.

It pleased us to go with the eminently quotable David Bowie, and only after we groped our way into the three fledgling efforts you see above did we discover that we’re not the only ones.

Presenting Early Pre-Bowie References to "Space Oddity"


Throw on some Bardcore and begin reworking the Bayeux Tapestry with the Historic Tale Construction Kit here.

If you are interested in something a bit more technical, the designers have put the opensource code on GitHub for your customizing pleasure.

Related Content:

Listen to Medieval Covers of “Creep,” “Pumped Up Kicks,” “Bad Romance” & More by Hildegard von Blingin’

160,000 Pages of Glorious Medieval Manuscripts Digitized: Visit the Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis

Why Knights Fought Snails in Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Why This Font Is Everywhere: How Cooper Black Became Pop Culture’s Favorite Font

You know Times New Roman, you know Helvetica, you know Comic Sans — and though you may not realize it, you know Cooper Black as well. Just think of the "VOTE FOR PEDRO" shirt worn in Napoleon Dynamite (and in real life for years thereafter), or a few decades earlier, the cover of Pet Sounds. In fact, the history of Cooper Black extends well before the Beach Boys' mid-1960s masterpiece; to see and hear the full story, watch the Vox video above. It begins, as narrator Estelle Caswell explains, in Chicago, at the turn of the 1920s when type designer Oswald Bruce Cooper created the series of fonts that bear his name. Nearly a century after the 1922 introduction of the variant Cooper Black, we see it everywhere, not just on album covers and T-shirts but storefronts, movie posters, and candy wrappers all over the world.

 

The evolution of printing, specifically the evolution from carved wood type to cast metal, made Cooper Black possible. Its distinctive look — and the curved edges that made it forgiving to imperfect printing processes — made it a hit. And when film strips replaced metal type, allowing the kind of closely-spaced printing that Cooper thought best presented his font, the already-popular Cooper Black underwent a renaissance.




"It thrived, as always, in advertising," says Caswell. "Its friendly curves fit the tongue-in-cheek aesthetic of the 1960s and 70s, but it also showed up in magazines, movies, and hundreds of album covers." To typography enthusiasts, Pet Sounds seemingly remains Cooper Black's finest hour: "Just look at the way the D works with the E and the Y, and 'Boys' fits so nicely over the O," as art director Stephen Heller says in the video.

In the 1920s Cooper Black not only showcased cutting-edge printing technology, its aesthetic looked exhilaratingly modern as well. Now, of course, it looks comfortingly retro, evocative of the era of handmade graphic design slipping out of living memory in our digital 21st century. But the 21st century so far has also been a time of "retromania": with all previous media increasingly at our fingertips, we draw inspiration (and even material) for our art and design more directly and instinctively than ever from the trends of the past. No wonder we continue to feel a resonance in Cooper Black, whose letters, as Caswell puts it, bring with them the weight of "a century's worth of changes in technology and pop culture." Nor is Cooper Black's next century, whatever uses it sees the font put to, likely to diminish its appeal.

Related Content:

The History of Typography Told in Five Animated Minutes

Comic Sans Turns 25: Graphic Designer Vincent Connare Explains Why He Created the Most Hated Font in the World

Download Hellvetica, a Font that Makes the Elegant Spacing of Helvetica Look as Ugly as Possible

The Making (and Remaking) of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, Arguably the Greatest Rock Album of All Time

Enter the Cover Art Archive: A Massive Collection of 800,000 Album Covers from the 1950s through 2018

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

DEVO Is Now Selling COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment: Energy Dome Face Shields

According to DEVO's co-principle songwriter and bassist Gerald Casale, the experimental art band turned early MTV pop-punk darlings were “pro-information, anti stupid conformity and knew that the struggle for freedom against tyranny is never-ending.”

Their singular performance garb also set them apart, and none more so than the bright red plastic Energy Dome helmets they donned 40 years ago this month, upon the release of their third album, Freedom of Choice.




The record, which the band conceived of as a funk album, exploded into mainstream consciousness. The visuals may have made an even more lasting impact than the music, which included the chart topping "Whip It."

Even the most anti-New Wave metalhead could identify the source of those domes, which have been likened to upturned flower pots, dog bowls, car urinals, and lamp shades.

What they probably don’t know is the Energy Dome was “designed according to ancient ziggurat mount proportions used in votive worship. Like the mounds, it collects energy and recirculates it. In this case, the dome collects energy that escapes from the crown of the human head and pushes it back into the Medula Oblongata for increased mental energy.”

Thus sayeth Casale, anyway.

DEVO’s 2020 concert plans were, of course, scotched by the coronavirus pandemic, but the band has found an alternative way to mark the 40th anniversary of Freedom of Choice and the birth of its iconic headgear.

In addition to face masks emblazoned with the familiar red tiered shape, DEVOtees with money and confidence to spare can ante up for a DIY Personal Protective Equipment kit that transforms a standard-issue Energy Dome into a face shield.

It’s worth noting that before taking your converted energy dome out for a particle deflecting spin, you’ll have to truffle up a hard hat suspension liner and install it for a proper fit.

Casale heralded the opening of DEVO’s merch store in a Facebook post:

Here we are 40 years later, living in the alternate reality nightmare spawned by Covid 19 and the botched response of our world “leaders” to do the right thing quickly. We are not exaggerating when we say that 2020 could be the last time you might be able to exercise your freedom of choice. If you don’t use it, you can certainly lose it.

Uh, he’s talking about voting, right, rather than storming the capitol building to demand the premature reopening of inessential businesses or making outsized threats in response to grocery store mask policies?

Perhaps the power of the Energy Dome is such that it could reawaken the pro-information, anti-stupidity sensibilities of some dormant DEVO fans among the unmasked rank and file.

As Casale himself posited in an interview with American Songwriter: "You make it taste good so that they don’t realize there’s medicine in it."

Pre-order masks and PPE kits from DEVO’s official merch store.

Download instructions for installing a hard hat suspension replacement inside the Energy Dome prior to attaching the shield.

via Consequence of Sound

Related Content:

Japanese Designer Creates Free Template for an Anti-Virus Face Shield: Download, and Then Use a Printer, Paper & Scissors

The Philosophy & Music of Devo, the Avant-Garde Art Project Dedicated to Revealing the Truth About De-Evolution

The Mastermind of Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh, Presents His Personal Synthesizer Collection

Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh & Other Arists Tell Their Musical Stories in the Animated Video Series, “California Inspires Me”

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Here latest project is an animation and a series of free downloadable posters, encouraging citizens to wear masks in public and wear them properly. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

More in this category... »
Quantcast