In our recent Q&A we spoke with Jonah Lehrer about his new book Imagine: How Creativity Works. During the conversation we mentioned Milton Glaser, the American graphic artist and co-founder of New York Magazine.

In his book, Lehrer uses Glaser’s obsessive dedication to detail (which he learned from his mentor, Giorgio Morandi), “his ability to stick with a problem until it surrenders,” to remind us that creativity isn’t always about epiphanies. A lot of the time it’s about hard work.

Lehrer illustrates this point with the story of the creative process behind Glaser’s I ♥ NY ad campaign. Even though an initial design had already been approved, Glaser couldn’t give up on it. Finally, after weeks spent ruminating, he came up with the iconic design while scribbling on a scrap of paper in the back of a cab.

The moral of the story? Success ♥ Persistence. Or, as Lehrer calls it, grit.

Below is a selection of some of his work to jumpstart your own creative impulses.

Milton Glaser and Clay Felker founded New York Magazine in 1968

You should look at every problem and think, “What can I learn by doing this?” And if you think you can learn nothing, forget about doing it.

Glaser designed the “B” to resemble the Brooklyn Dodgers’ logo to give the brewery a sense of history

My definition of design is this: it is going from an existing position to a preferred one. It’s everything.

Milton has designed the cover art for all artists on the Tomato Records label, including Nina Simone and Louis Armstrong

Failure and ambiguity are hard concepts to sell to a client who just wants to sell more cans of tomatoes.

Glaser designed this Bob Dylan poster in 1966, which became one of the most widely distributed posters of all time

The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire and persistence.

Glaser modified his design after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The black smudge represents the location of the World Trade Center on Manhattan island

There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.