|Owner||NY Department of Economic Development|
|Introduced||July 15, 1977|
|Registered as a trademark in||73758742|
I Love New York (stylized I ? NY) is a slogan, a logo and a song that are the basis of an advertising campaign used since 1977 to promote tourism in the state of New York, including New York City. The trademarked logo, owned by the New York State Department of Economic Development, appears in souvenir shops and brochures throughout the state, some licensed, many not.
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. The original drawing is held in the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.
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 final sketch to accompany the agency's "I Love New York" slogan was conceived in a taxi. 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 a "subliminally" influenced by Robert Indiana's LOVE pop art image.
Glaser expected the campaign to last only a couple months and did the work pro bono. 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.
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. 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."
"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. 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.
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. New York has tried to uphold its trademark by filing nearly 3,000 objections against imitators (to 2005).
Parodies, such as "I ? [spayed] My Pets" or "I ? [club] Seals", have also appeared. Facetious expressions beginning "I heart...", are based on a literal reading of the logo (e.g., the film I Heart Huckabees and the audio conglomerate iHeartMedia).
In 1980 a court concluded 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 that it was a parody.
As of 2013, the State of New York had filed thousands of "trademark objections and cease-and-desist letters" to stop copycatting, and in 2012 the state sent about one hundred letters.
The logo, according to products it's printed on, is the service mark of the state Department of Economic Development.