I Love New York

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I Love New York
The logo consists of the capital letter I, followed by a red heart symbol, below which are the capital letters N and Y, set in the rounded slab serif typeface American Typewriter.
OwnerNY Department of Economic Development
Produced byNew York State Department of Commerce / Milton Glaser (designer)
CountryUnited States
IntroducedJuly 15, 1977 (1977-07-15)
Registered as a trademark in73758742

I Love New York (stylized I NY) is a slogan, a logo, and a song that are the basis of an advertising campaign developed by the marketing firm of Wells, Rich, Greene under the directorship of Mary Wells Lawrence[1] used since 1977 to promote tourism in the state of New York.[2] [3] The trademarked logo, owned by the New York State Department of Economic Development,[4] appears in souvenir shops and brochures throughout the state, some licensed, many not.

"I Love New York" is the official state slogan of New York.[5]

The logo was designed by graphic designer Milton Glaser in 1976 in the back of a taxi and was drawn with red crayon on scrap paper.[6] The original drawing is held in the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. The song was written by Steve Karmen and its copyright was donated by him to the state.


The logo consists of the capital letter I, followed by a red heart symbol (), below which are the capital letters N and Y, set in the rounded slab serif typeface American Typewriter.[7]

In 1977, William S. Doyle, Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Commerce hired advertising agency Wells Rich Greene to develop a marketing campaign for New York State. Doyle also recruited Milton Glaser, a productive graphic designer to work on the campaign and create a design based on Wells Rich Greene's advertising campaign. Glaser's initial sketch to accompany the agency's "I Love New York" slogan was conceived in a taxi.[8] It comprised the letter I and a heart shape followed by NY, all on the same line. As the idea developed he decided to stack the I and heart shape on a line above the NY characters, later stating that he may have been "subliminally" influenced by Robert Indiana's LOVE pop art image.[9]

Nick Walker's "Love Vandal" at 17th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan, 2015

Glaser expected the campaign to last only a couple months and did the work pro bono.[7] The innovative pop-style icon became a major success and has continued to be sold for years. In the popular mind (though this was not the original intention) the logo has become closely associated with New York City, and the placement of the logo on plain white T-shirts readily sold in the city has widely circulated the appearance of the image, making it a commonly recognized symbol. Glaser's original concept sketch and presentation boards were donated by Doyle to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.[9]

The image became especially prominent following the September 11 attacks on the city, which created a sense of unity among the populace. Many visitors to the city following the attacks purchased and wore the shirts bearing the I Love New York logo as a sign of their support. Glaser created a modified version to commemorate the attacks, reading "I Love NY More Than Ever", with a little black spot on the heart symbolizing the World Trade Center site.[7] The black spot approximates the site's location on lower Manhattan Island. The poster was printed in the New York Daily News and was a fundraiser for New York charities supporting those affected by the attacks. Added text at the bottom encouraged people to "Be generous. Your city needs you. This poster is not for sale."[7]

New York state anthem[edit]

"I Love New York"

State anthem of New York
LyricsSteve Karmen, 1977
MusicSteve Karmen, 1977

"I Love New York" was written and composed by Steve Karmen in 1977 as part of the advertising campaign. In 1980, Governor Hugh Carey declared it as New York's state anthem, although not officially enacted into law. In a move that was remarkable for Karmen, who is well known for retaining the publishing rights to his songs, he gave the rights to the song to the state for free.[10]

Karmen wrote a new verse for the song in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City to emphasize the city's resilience.[11] However, it was never commercially recorded nor used.


Actor Robin Williams wearing a T-shirt with the logo translated into Arabic as "I love ❤ New York", in 2003
An I ❤️ SH sign in Shanghai, China in the style of "I love NY"

The logo has become a pop-culture icon, inspiring imitations in every corner of the globe. Merchandise proclaiming "I ..." can be found wherever tourists gather. Parodies, such as "I [spayed] My Pets" or "I [club] Seals", have also appeared.[12] Facetious expressions beginning "I heart...", are based on a literal reading of the logo (e.g., the 2004 independent film I Heart Huckabees and the audio conglomerate iHeartMedia). NYS[clarification needed]-licensed pin-back buttons with a red version of the Apple logo replacing the heart (I  NY) were distributed at the 2001 Macworld Expo in New York.

New York state government has repeatedly attempted to uphold its trademark; by 2005, the state had filed nearly 3,000 objections against imitators,[13] and 100 "trademark objections and cease-and-desist letters" were filed in 2012 alone.[14] Some objections have been ruled void, such as when a court concluded in 1980 that the producers of Saturday Night Live did not infringe on the copyrights of the "I Love New York" campaign with its "I Love Sodom" skit, ruling instead that it was a parody.[15][16]

Logo that appeared in October 2022[citation needed]

In March 2023, as part of a revitalisation campaign after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Partnership for New York City introduced "We ❤️ NYC", a "modern twist" on the logo designed by a team led by Graham Clifford, which was posted throughout the city.[17] The text changes the state abbreviation "NY" to the city abbreviation "NYC", and the pronoun from I to "we". The graphic uses a sans-serif font in all caps, in which the heart symbol has shading and is larger and placed further off-center than in the "I NY" graphic. Media reported criticism of both the slogan as unoriginal and the design as inelegant.[18][19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Swanda, Jessica (April 21, 2018). "Famous Advertisers in History: Mary Wells Lawrence". Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  2. ^ "I Love New York Logo". New York State Library - New York State Education Department. Archived from the original on 2015-09-06. Retrieved 2017-12-18.
  3. ^ Kidd, Chip (1 September 2003). [l https://believermag.com/an-interview-with-milton-glaser/ "An Interview with Milton Glaser"]. Believer Magazine. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  4. ^ "'I Love NY' products, contracted to companies by NYS, are made overseas". WGRZ. April 1, 2016. Archived from the original on July 2, 2020. Retrieved October 15, 2016. The logo, according to products it's printed on, is the service mark of the state Department of Economic Development.
  5. ^ Consolidated Laws, Article 6, Section 88
  6. ^ Recently, researchers of the Visual Arts Department at UCSD suggested a possible reference for the creation of this logo. According to them, Conrado Martinez—an architect from Santa Barbara, California—created a similar image (1931) to show his respect and love for Oaxaca City (Mexico), destroyed because of an earthquake. Interestingly, as happened in NY, after the earthquake, Oaxaca started a process of reorganization of the users and the uses of the space, which later, in the '90s, culminated in a radical gentrification process.
  7. ^ a b c d Lambert, Tiffany (September 11, 2013). "A Heart in the Right Place". Object of the Day. Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "The Story Behind I Heart New York". Buy T-Shirts Online. March 19, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Sooke, Alastair (February 7, 2011). "Milton Glaser: his heart was in the right place". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  10. ^ Wansley, Joy (October 27, 1980). "They Call Steve Karmen 'the Beethoven of Spot Sonatas'—Meaning He's King of TV Jingles". People. 14 (17). ISSN 0093-7673. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  11. ^ "Steve Karmen's "I Love New York" Gets Inspirational Update". www.radio.com. 2020-04-06. Retrieved 2021-03-12.
  12. ^ Byrne, Robert (1988). 1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-449-90285-4.
  13. ^ Kirstin, Dorsch (July 18, 2005). "New York Loves Its Trademark". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on July 24, 2005. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  14. ^ Newman, Andy (May 29, 2013). "A Cup Is at the Heart of a Trademark Dispute". The New York Times. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  15. ^ Chung, Jen (February 12, 2007). "Looking to Revive New York". Gothamist. Archived from the original on April 30, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  16. ^ "Elsmere Music v. National Broadcasting Co.". Act of June 9, 1980.
  17. ^ "NEW YORK'S 'I LOVE NY' LOGO GETS A MAKEOVER". Upptaped New York. 21 March 2023.
  18. ^ Stewart, Dodai (21 March 2023). "These New Yorkers Don't ❤️ the 'We ❤️NYC' Logo". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  19. ^ Natalie B. Compton (2023-03-21). "New Yorkers bond over new city logo: They hate it". The Washington Post.
  20. ^ Gopnik, Adam (23 March 2023). "The 'We❤️NYC' Logo Flop". The New Yorker. Retrieved 25 March 2023.

Further reading[edit]

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