I Thumbs Down New York

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Text on Button I NY
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Black text and a red illustration of a hand with its thumb pointing down

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Jean-Léon Gérôme’s 1872 painting ‘Pollice Verso’ is thought to have introduced the concept of the thumbs-up gesture as a sign of approval and the thumbs-down gesture as a sign of disapproval.

In ancient Rome, when Gladiators competed with each other in combat for entertainment, the crowd often decided if the Gladiator was to live to fight another day by giving a thumbs-down which meant swords down. If the crowd gave a thumbs-up, swords up, then it was a fight to the finish with one Gladiator dead and the winner alive.

The I heart NY logo was created in 1977 by Milton Glaser for an ad campaign created by advertising agency Wells Rich Greene. The marketing campaign was sought by then-Deputy Commissioner William S. Doyle to increase tourism in the state of New York. The campaign was a wild success. The original sketch of the logo is permanently on display at the MOMA.

The logo has become iconic in pop-culture and has been imitated in many forms around the world.

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Catalog ID IB0305