call for variations: I [shape] X

This is a generalization of the I ♥ X clone begun with the “I ♥ NY” rebus created in 1977 to promote tourism in New York State. Variations on [Place] include any city with enough tourism to want to print t-shirts with their name on it. On the web, I was able to find LA, Boston, SD [for "San Diego" and "South Dakota"], Seattle, New Orleans, DC (for the District of Columbia in the U.S.), etc. This variation requires the styling of the original, where the “I ♥” appears on one line and the “[Place]” appears immediately below it, justified so that the logo is inscribed by a square.

The snowclone is not really limited by this logo styling, however: the X of I ♥ X may be any kind of noun or noun phrase representing something concrete: I ♥ Java or I ♥ my schnauzer is okay, but I ♥ puppycide is not. X must be something that is loveable.

What makes the ♥ version especially interesting is that the phrase “I heart” has come to mean “I love” in English. It’s not completely interchangeable in speech–talking about “hearting” a person is certainly strange, and you can’t say “he hearts his wife”. But ah, semiotics! We can interpret the symbol itself as standing in for the verb “love” or we can interpret the word for the symbol as standing in for the act of love. The actual usage of “heart” for “love” is more playful. When Fran Healy sings “I heart everything about you” in Travis’ song “Big Chair”, he’s being sentimental, but maybe it’s coy: it’s not clear if he means the same thing as if he said “I love everything about you”.

And this leads us to the generalization: we may now get a variety of shapes in place of the heart. For example, I Godzilla Tokyo:

Or I Shamrock Guinness [where I write "Shamrock" to mean the green symbol below, and "Guinness" for the pint symbol]:

The ubiquity of “I ♥ X” is really what makes these other variations possible, and what makes it a snowclone. You can’t understand I Shamrock Guinness without knowing about “I ♥ NY”.

These are the two variations I’ve seen in the wild, but I expect there are others. There just isn’t a good way to do a web search for them. If you have seen one, please point it out to me!

Edited to add commenter matt’s superquick suggestion: I Adidas NY:

Another addition: fj says, “I know that someone’s done an “I (bean) Chicago” where bean is a sketch or photo of Anish Kappor’s Cloud Gate sculpture, but I’ll be damned if I can find an image of it online.”

Edited to add: Be sure to check out comments here for more great variations!

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57 responses to “call for variations: I [shape] X

  1. adidas does this with a lot of cities

  2. I remember hearing parodies of this snowclone (a snowclown?) which also play off heart being a playing card suit years ago as part of some standup act on TV. A little searching revealed they’re somewhat known at least:

    I ♠ my dog ( http://www.printfection.com/shop/cartoons/image.2287255 )

    and

    I ♣ my wife ( http://www.cafepress.com/hoganstore.202851997 )

    Just for the record, I’m horrified that you can actually buy things that have the latter slogan on them.

  3. Does this also include the “I <3 X” variation from the text-messaging world? I notice that Google automatically includes “I Heart *” items in a search for “I <3 *”.

    If so, is it a stretch to include “I less than three X”, a more recent variant? (e.g. http://twitter.com/wilw/status/1081182075)

  4. @Dan I came across that variation in the “I Heart New York” Wikipedia article, and was also horrified. I should have included those variations in the article, though, to be thorough, I suppose.

    @Chris It certainly does! I meant to include it, actually–just dashed off this post a little to quickly.

  5. I know that someone’s done an “I (bean) Chicago” where bean is a sketch or photo of Anish Kappor’s Cloud Gate sculpture, but I’ll be damned if I can find an image of it online.

  6. I have seen two variations in Copenhagen: One with the Sony Ericsson logo, as seen here: http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/home?cc=dk&lc=da , and another with a trash container, as seen here: http://www.ilovetrash.dk/

  7. I ♥ MY DOG
    I ♠ MY CAT

  8. Googling for “I dice las vegas” also led me to “I rain seattle”

    Graphic designer Christoph Niemann’s “I LEGO NY” series is cute, but crying out for a brick icon instead of the word LEGO.

  9. If you really want to be shocked, Google-image (is that a verb?) “I plane NY”.

  10. @Fritinancy Hee, love the NorCal “hella”.

    @mollymooly Ooh, nice ones! Agreed re: Lego. And ick on “plane NY”. Honestly, some people.

  11. @Ole Great finds. Thank you!

  12. I got a t-shirt on cafepress that says “I (star) Ninjas” where the star is a 6 pointed throwing star:

    http://t-shirts.cafepress.com/item/i-heart-ninjas-jr-jersey-tshirt/23261521

  13. Bumper sticker:
    I (heart) (shamrock) (musical note) =
    I love Irish music

  14. I [Galactus] Planets

    Galactus is known for his consuming love of planets.

  15. Throughout some of the major cities in Europe, there are mosaics using this form and the alien from “Space Invaders” that, I believe, are rendered “I invade X”. The finest and least tactful of these is, no doubt:

  16. Harald Korneliussen

    Gary Larson had a monster driving a car with “I 8 NY” on the license plate.

    Sony Ericsson is using this formula with their own logo replacing the heart “I [Sony Ericsson] photos!” etc.

  17. WUHSAC, an academic competition I was involved gives out T-shirts to all the students. One year, the design was “I [brain] WUHSAC”.

  18. I just saw a bumper sticker that read:

    “I ⚜ New Orleans”

  19. This week’s New Yorker has one we’ve covered:

    cartoon

  20. And the New Yorker apparently rejected this one: http://3.ly/6N

    I [nose] NJ = I smell NJ

  21. A rather more offensive example is “I [plane] NY”: http://www.tshirthell.com/shirts/products/a102/a102_bm.gif

    Also, I’ve seen a Zits comic strip in which the parents have a bumper sticker reading “We ♥ our kid”, and the kid has a sticker on his backpack reading “I [image of stomach] my parents”.

  22. (My mistake, I didn’t see that the plane one had already been mentioned.)

    Oh, and on the matter of card-suit variations, I’ve also seen “I [club] baby seals”.

  23. Perhaps inspired by the “I [Adidas] NY,” some “subversives” have developed an “I [pot leaf] NY” shirt. One version here, but I feel like I’ve seen higher-end versions elsewhere.

  24. This is really off-topic because it’s not seen, just wished for.

    I’m looking for a peapod dingbat so I can use

    i(pod) my music

  25. While walking around San Francisco, I saw a shirt that said “I [Haight St. sign] SF”

  26. I (heart) unicode.

    See these great t-shirts with a variation that includes the various glyphs for unknown characters:

    http://www.cafepress.com/nucleartacos/317769

  27. I have a pin, of unknown origin, that says
    “I [pie chart] FACTS” where the pie chart looks like http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=p&chd=t:90,10&chs=100×100&chp=5&chco=FF0000,FFFFFF (so i.e. vaguely heart-like)

  28. This is my absolute favourite:

  29. The Farm Fresh RI organization came out with a bumper sticker in support of local foods and farmers’ markets that reads:

    I [tomato] my farmer.

  30. lostintranslationdc.blogspot.com/2010/01/i-heart-nerds.html

  31. I ￿� Unicode

    lol Xp

    (does it show? that’s U+FFFD , aka “Replacement character”)

  32. When you mentioned the I heart NY being from 1977 it reminded me that years before that I had Virginia is for Lovers t-shirt which had a heart after the lovers. I guess it was the precursor to I heart NY although the NY one uses heart as the verb. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_is_for_Lovers

  33. My favorite, very meta:

    I [foot] Mad Libs

  34. I AFRICA

    On a button, shown on a poster in the window of a church. The button probably exists, but I haven’t seen it as such.

  35. A lot of the LARP (Live action Role Playing) Groups like the SCA (www.sca.org) and Dagorhir (as seen on Wreckreation Nation) use the card club symbol on bumper stickers that say

    I ♣ my friends.

    As a note for the person justifiably horrified by the I ♣ my wife paraphanalia, I know – again – several people who as husband-wife teams do fight in armor in these reenactment groups and use the bumper stickers to get people to ask them about it. I hope it helps explain some of the people who might be buying such things.

  36. In their campaign, the Dutch kidney foundation uses the shape of a kidney instead of a heart. They do translate the kidney with ‘love’, see: http://www.nierstichting.nl/helpen/geld/webshop.

    In their ads, they show the ‘I [kidney]‘ in combination with names, such as ‘I [kidney] Tom’ with a picture of someone who has donated a kidney to a Tom with kidney failure.

  37. I ✍ Mohamed

  38. Amsterdam (luckily) has found a way to avoid this particular snowclone with the slogan I AMSTERDAM where ‘I am’ and ‘sterdam’ are depicted in different colours: http://www.loopbaan.nl/upload/amsterdam_002.jpg

  39. I remember seeing this one on merchandise from the Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan: “I (cherry)sh T C” – in which a picture of a cherry next to “sh” stood for the word “cherish”. Much cleverer than the usual random symbols!

  40. I saw a fellow today on the U.C. Berkeley campus wearing a T-shirt that said ” I [matlab logo] matlab ” — I’m not even sure how you’d pronounce that!

    Couldn’t find an example of the shirt on the internet, but the matlab logo looks like http://megashareslink.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/matlab_logo.gif — it’s the “first eigenfunction of the L-shaped membrane,” whatever that means.

  41. So what is “my karma ran over my dogma”?

  42. GapersBlock, a Chicago-centric web publication, sells merch with I (*) Chicago where the * is actually the six-pointed star which appears four times on the city’s official flag.

    See http://www.gapersblock.com/store/

  43. Another cute variation is “I street food”, which has the added humor of rhyming with “heart”.

    (I saw this first at a San Francisco Street Food festival; http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/files/2009/08/sf-streetfood-festival-82209-070.jpg)

  44. That is cute. Unfortunately the cuteness in “I street food” is only visible by following the link; if you pasted a graphic there, the webpage doesn’t show it.

  45. Pingback: I [shape] X roundup | The Snowclones Database

  46. Pingback: verbal “heart” added to the OED | The Snowclones Database

  47. Pingback: Do you ♥ words with no letters? « Sentence first

  48. Pingback: Humor is a harsh mistress | Ninth Circle Design

  49. I have seen “I (maple leaf) Canada” and “I (atom symbol) science.”

    Regarding the club symbol, consider that “troll romance” uses all four playing card symbols to indicate different types of romantic relationships. “I (club) my wife” is not maximally logical since that’s a three-way relationship involving two high-friction parties and their negotiator, but it’s worth bearing in mind.

    Regarding other substitutions for heart: the closer they are to a heart shape, the easier they are to parse. Tomatoes and cherries are both red with an indentation at the top. Canada’s maple leaf is red with three lobes instead of two.

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