Mohawk Blog

We ♥ Milton Glaser | 1929-2020


“Every once in a while, you really get an opportunity to make things better than they were before.” —Milton Glaser 

On June 26th, 2020, we had to say goodbye to the iconic Milton Glaser, who passed away on his 91st birthday. 

Glaser made things that have shaped the way we see and understand the world around us. His approach to every project embraced beauty and humor in equal measure, resulting in work that has made an indelible mark on graphic design and culture.

Over the years, we had the honor to work with  Milton Glaser on a few important projects. Here’s one of our favorites created by Push Pin Studios for Strathmore back in 1964. Titled "If All the World Were Paper," it was a paper promotion, jointly designed and illustrated by Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast and Isadore Seltzer.

The concept came from a nursery rhyme that originally appeared as "Interrogative Cantilena" in John Mennes and James Smith’s Facetiae (c. 1658). The designs represented a renewed interest in making paper part of the picture, but this time with die-cuts, gatefolds and other finishing techniques that physically brought paper into a design.

If All the World Were Paper (Strathmore Paper Co., 1964)
Designed by Push Pin Studios
If All the World Were Paper (Strathmore Paper Co., 1964)
Designed by Push Pin Studios

Excerpt from "If All the World Were Paper" (1964): 

The world of the designer and the printer is in many real ways a world of paper. Paper is the surface on which we work; the texture, color and character of the paper become part of the final piece. 

In designing a booklet to demonstrate this idea, we found an anonymous 17th Century English nursery rhyme which seemed happily appropriate to our theme, and provided an amusing foil to contemporary design. We have used it to give continuity to the book. The last word of each stanza has become a jumping-off point for each of the pages. 

Solutions to design problems are frequently found in the paper itself. For example, the color and texture of Cordoba Brown Strathmore Grandee, used for the cigar-box mailer, suggested the drop-out treatment in which the paper itself becomes the cigars. In a simular way, the black antique finish of Strathmore Cover in the opera announcement forms the negative area in the design, providing a rich contrast of textures with the smooth silkscreened blue surface. 

Strathmore papers always retain the honest character of paper. Their immense variety of textures, colors and weights extends the range of the artist and broadens his reach, while the paper itself, held in the hand, contributes further to the over-all mood of the printed pieces.

Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser, Isadore Seltzer

If All the World Were Paper (Strathmore Paper Co., 1964)
Designed by Push Pin Studios
If All the World Were Paper (Strathmore Paper Co., 1964)
Designed by Push Pin Studios

Thank you, Milton. May your legacy live on.

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