Most people may not be aware that the t-shirt or coffee mug they own stating their love for New York is trademarked. The logo, which shows the word "I" followed by a red heart and the letters "NY," is a trademarked slogan and logo for New York City, according to the New York State Education Department . This logo is protected and cannot be used with the express permission of the New York State Empire State Development, which is the owner of the trademark.
According to LogoWorks, this protected logo was developed in 1977. Its main purpose was to boost tourism in the city because in the 1970s, NYC was going through a difficult time. It was riddled with crime, there was a blackout and the city was facing financial ruin. Nobody wanted to visit. Someone had to find a way to turn things around and stop the negative publicity. Wells Rich Greene, an advertising agency, took on the challenge.
They developed the main idea behind the soon-to-be famous trademarked logo. However, it was Milton Glaser who created the actual logo, using the heart instead of the word "love" and the initials "NY" instead of spelling out the city's name. He also determined the font used and the overall look of the logo.
The rest is history. This logo is one of the best known in the whole world. Anyone who sees it immediately recognizes it stands for New York City. Because of the trademark protection, this logo cannot be used on merchandise or in any way by someone who does not hold the trademark or who does not have permission to use it, and it is well protected, which is not surprising since it is estimated to help bring over $30 million into the city as revenue each year.