Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The God of Design

The poster from the album Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits,
Designed by Milt Glaser. You can get the authorized
reproduction from Mr. Glaser himself. Here's the link.

          Bob Dylan presided over our family room from the 1970s onward, a mysterious presence underneath the psychedelic curls that Milton Glaser gave him in the iconic 1975 poster.

          Many times I looked at that poster and thought, "His hair does not look like that."* Until the day I looked at the poster and thought, "Oh. I get it. The hair is a metaphor." I did not actually use the word "metaphor," because I don't think I knew the word at that point, but that concept—that one thing can represent both what it literally is and at the same time stand in for another idea altogether—was suddenly as clear as if it had been revealed to me by angels. And the idea that you can do that using art—make something beautiful and interesting that also means something else entirely—well, that was magic, pure and simple. That was the day I became an artist.

*I was a child. All children are flinty-eyed literalists.

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