Milton Glazer's design for the classic I Love NY campaign will soon be forty years old. It can be argued that there has never been a more effective branding exercise for a city but the logo has nevertheless reached something of a saturation point. Not surprising, then, that New York State is currently attempting a brand extension with its current Follow Your Heart summer campaign.
Or is that a brand revival? Because one of the weaknesses of the original campaign was that it failed to incite people to visit New York State — they saw in the logo (as I did) simply a reference to New York City, which wasn't the original intent. The new campaign, created by BBDO Advertising, thus encourages visitors to the site to replace the iconic NY with their own imagery to represent activities across the state. Accompanying TV spots show people in the process of doing exactly that.
All very nice. But is it really possible to take the heart out of the logo? After all, then all you're left with is some text set in American Typewriter. A problem for the new campaign is that much of the contributions employ imagery specific to NYC itself, such as the Statue of Liberty, cabs and bagels, thereby replicating the effect of the original Glazer logo. And the supplied imagery begs the question: perhaps it's time to make drawing a required subject in high school?