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Let’s find out the true story of the I Love New York T-Shirt, one of the most famous symbols in the world.

If you walk on a street in New York, there is no doubt that you can see someone wearing an I Love New York shirt. Despite its popularity, people rarely know about the origin of this iconic logo. Here is some worthwhile information about this exclusive slogan’s history of the city that never sleeps.

The True Story Of The I Love New York T-Shirt in picture of girl wearing it
The true story of the I Love New York T-Shirt

1. The true story of the I Love New York T-Shirt

  • The global-famous emblem was created to salvation failure 

Maybe you have not known, the origin of the icons comes from a campaign created in the hope of saving the situation in New York at that time. Contrary to the hustle and bustle of today, New York in the 70s is no different from Gotham, the criminal city of Batman.

The True Story Of The I Love New York T-Shirt horrific and fail
New York was in huge chaos in the 70s

As the story goes, at that time, the city hit rock bottom because of bankruptcy, rising crime rates, and rampant drug using. It is definitely not an ideal place to live or travel. The government had hired an advertising agency to makeover the face of NYC. This is the time that this legendary icon was born.

  • It was designed by an advertising industry newcomer

Born in 1976, this symbol of this “sleepless city” was born in a very interesting scene. The emblem is the creation of Milton Glaser, who has created plenty of record sleeves, book illustrations, and posters. People said that he was a gifted and forward-thinking artist. This is shown in many famous works such as the posters of Bob Dylan’s album and the Mad Men movie.

Milton Glaser, the man behind The True Story Of The I Love New York T-Shirt
Milton Glaser – A accomplished graphic designer

However, he had no experience in advertising campaigns like this one. It’s a surprise that this is one of the most successful campaigns ever in the advertising industry. Furthermore, there is an interesting story that this logo is originally a part of the campaign. It’s hard to imagine the scenario that this icon could not have been born.

  • The symbol that changed the whole city was born behind a tiny cab.

The true story of the I Love New York T-Shirt is that it was created accidentally. The idea about this simple yet memorable emblem came to Glaser when he was doodling in the back of a cab on the way to the first campaign meeting. The rough sketch was drawn with a red pencil on a torn envelope. Nowadays, admirers can see at New York’s renowned Museum of Modern Art.

I love New york first concept sketch
The first draft of I Love New York symbol

After that, the brilliant artist has finished and brought this logo to the public. This logo then became famous quickly, contributing much to the success of the campaign. Furthermore, it has continued to spread its popularity to this day.

2. The influence of this symbol to this day

  • The popular trends of logo-branded merchandise

Initially, the I Love New York symbol was only applied to plain white T-shirts. Those shirts had become a huge hit and been sold out everywhere. In fact, there was a time in the 70s that you could see people wearing these famous T-shirts in every corner of the streets in New York.

I love New york panting in the city
Common logo in New York

After that, more items with this logo graphic appeared, from stickers to mugs, keychains, hats, tote bags, etc. Therefore, the image and message of this symbol are still going viral today.

souvenir items with I love New york graphic pattern
I Love the New York logo on every item
  • Gone through ups and downs together with New York

As a part of the city, these well-known shirts not only experienced the city’s peak but also brought a positive influence when New York fell on low notes.

I love New york more than ever new symbol
The new version of an iconic symbol

Specifically, at the time of the dreadful attack on September 11, 2001, New York and all people in the world sank into loss and pain. The designer of this icon, Milton Glaser, created a new version in memory of the victims of the attack. This new symbol version was successful in spreading love and meaningful life messages through this simple but delicate image.

3. Contributing to the world’s fashion industry

  • The timeless item for everyone

Since its inception, these classic white I Love New York T-shirts have become trendy apparel of all time. This simple yet stylish design is suitable for everyone, on any occasion and can be combined with all fashion items. With such diversity, its popularity is multiplied. In fact, many celebs love to wear this shirt to create a stylish and cool street style. Those who can be named including Matthew Perry, Robert Pattinson, Emma Watson, and more.

Mathew Perry and Robert Pattinson wearing I love New york T-shirt
Mathew Perry and Robert Pattinson’s favorite T-shirts

Furthermore, there is no doubt that these shirts are an indispensable souvenir for visitors when visiting this dream city. If you have a chance to travel to New York, remember to bring this iconic top back home.

I love new york shirt become popular and must have souvenir
Must-have souvenirs when you come to NYC
  • Various versions of this legend shirts

Recently, there are more and more versions around the world, with funny and creative changes and updates. You can easily see similar models all over the world.

various version of I love New York Shirt
Imitations of the iconic I Love New York T-shirt

However, this has caused some copyright problems as there are too many imitations appearing on the market. The true story of the I Love New York T-Shirt is that its copyright was only recognized in the early 21st century. Therefore, the New York government has gone through many troubles maintaining and keeping the trademark. However, it is very hard to solve this problem completely.

You might also like 5 Reasons Why The California T-shirt Is So Famous And Appeal To Many People.

  • Creating a fashion trend for patriots and city lovers

Although in the past, apparel products also had patriot design ideas, these items only really gained popularity after the appearance of I Love New York T-shirts.

Today, a lot of shirts are designed to honor the image of famous countries and cities. You can discover more information about other well-known tees from other countries such as France in Whats So Trendy About The Awesome Eiffel Tower Shirt That Everyone Fell In Love And Went Crazy Over It?

If you feel that the I Love New York shirt is too popular, or you already have too many of these legendary models and want to get a fresh look, there are many different styles for you to choose from. The following shirts will definitely help you show your love for “the Big Apple”.

Street Art T-shirt of Trends store New York and Statue of Liberty, Times Square
Street Art T-shirt with bold and vivid graphics
Liberty New York T-shirt with unique design of Trends Store
Liberty T-shirt with unique designs for New Yorkers

These shirts have common features related to New York such as famous landmarks (i.n. Times Square, Statue of Liberty). Perhaps you will need to update a new look while sharing your enthusiasm to the city that never sleeps.


To summarize, the true story of the I Love New York T-Shirt is extremely interesting and meaningful. After reading all of the information above, we hope you can have a full look and understand the special meaning behind this seemingly simple tee. And if you don’t have this wonderful shirt, let’s order a similar shirt right now, then spread the message and inspiration from this shirt to everyone around.

Learn more about other T-shirts’ history with the article Smiley Face T-shirt: a history will make you surprised amazingly.

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