At Milton Glaser’s Manhattan studio, his most famous projects are strewn about on casual display–buttons and mugs read I ♥ NY, Brooklyn Brewery six-packs dot the space, and surely, a New York magazine cover must be floating about, which he founded just a few floors above where he sits today.
But I’m here to talk about something Glaser designed for another New York icon: Donald Trump.
The project was Trump Vodka. Trump licensed his name to an anonymous Dutch-distilled vodka in 2006. By 2007, it did $4.3 million in sales, selling for $30 a bottle, which priced it above Absolut. But by 2008, sales dropped 81% and only got worse from there. Over the next few years, the original distillery closed and the failing property was sold. Trump, of course, sued, and according to The Jerusalem Post, the only Trump Vodka consumed today is some German offshoot that’s apparently popular for Passover in Israel.
Glaser tells me that he designed Trump’s gilded bottle to be a gauche spectacle playing off Trump’s own puffed-up persona. “I’d say this is appealing to the lowest level of human activity,” he says. “Envy and status.”
Watch the video for all of Glaser’s zingers, his thoughts on whether or not he’d do the job today, and as an added bonus, see the early concepts that Glaser developed for another Trump property: Trump Tea.