Thursday, September 24, 2009

Milton Glaser, Inc. | 20 Minutes with Milton

A few weeks ago Andrew asked me if there was anything that I had hoped to gain, experience wise, out of the internship that I had not yet had the opportunity. Some good forced reflection. My answer to that was involvement in a tradeshow and as a result the next thing I knew I was making the trip to Vegas to lend a hand at Capsule. Last week I was reflecting on the question in terms of personal experience. I thought pretty hard about it and a few ideas came up. One of which was somewhat far fetched but as you know I am always down for a challenge. The next thing I knew I was speaking with Milton's personal assistant scheduling a short meeting with one of the foremost graphic designers and creative minds in the industry.

Milton Glaser, Inc. was established in 1974 and has called 207 East 32nd Street home. This historic location was also home to Pushpin Studios as well as the start up of New York Magazine.

I wish I could provide a transcribed copy of our conversation so you could dig through the vast amount of wisdom bestowed in such a short period and also so I could revisit some of the profound thought that still need reflection. I was unsure of my allotment of time so I put together a run of 10 questions that I wanted to make sure that I didn't bypass and kick myself later. Milton touched on everything from maintaining creative longevity to how he celebrated his 80 birthday. Of our conversation this story stood out. There are many life lessons that can be drawn from it, but for me, it not only illustrated how showing or telling some that you believe in them is a powerful action but also that even the most mundane actions can change or greatly affect a persons life.

One question I asked Mr. Glaser was what was the best advice he ever received. This is how he responded - When I was in junior high school I was rather good in science, and my science teacher enthusiastically encouraged me to purse a life in the subject. At the end of the school year I told him that I had been accepted into the High School of Music and Art. I felt awkward because I knew he had other plans for me. One week later he asked me to stay after class This was usually a bad sign. He took a small package out of his desk drawer and asked me to open it. I unwrapped it nervously and saw that it contained a box of beautiful French conte crayons. "Do good work", he said. It took me many years to understand that his real gift to me wasn't the crayons but the blessing he gave me to pursue my own passion and path in life in spite of his own interests. Without really knowing it I made an internal resolution to be worthy of his faith in me. Because he believed in me, I believed in myself. Such is the nature of the human mind.

This question also prompted Milton to pass on a collection of four short essays entitled Ambiguity & Truth, Since Then, 10 Things I've Learned and Dark & Light. I am off to read point 8 of the 10 Things I've Learned...'Doubt Is Better Than Certainty'.

Sorry for the lack of photographs, client confidentiality.