Milton Glaser, the towering figure of 20th-century graphic design, used his materials sparingly, saying no more—and no less—than what is needed. I love NY is a master class in economy: using the least amount of space to achieve the most impact. Characteristic of Glaser’s work, it is both a first-person declaration and a universally humanistic sentiment. Glaser, who died in June at the age of 91, is an enduring source of inspiration in our studio. “There are three responses to a piece of design,” he once said: “yes, no, and WOW!” At its best, design can reveal meaning, strengthen a purpose, build power. That is the “wow” towards which we at Ummo are ever striving.
Sure, there’s Gregorian New Year, when we pop all the corks; Julian New Year, observed by Boston’s populous russophone diaspora; Lunar New Year, whose colors radiate heat; and Rosh Hashana, which gives us an excuse for apple picking in Vermont. In the drab days of March, though, we get down with Nowruz — a way to cheat winter and honor the many cultural traditions that come together at Ummo.
Four years before Deborah Sussman made “supergraphics” a household term (at least in Ummo’s household), the 1980 Moscow Olympiad created an idealized vision of the Soviet city. We came across an original set of posters and postcards in our ceaseless search for inspiration, and have been in a state of creative collusion ever since.