The “I Love City Life” Origin Story

Feb. 14, 2024

How It Started

Before Live Baltimore became the nonprofit that you know and love today, it began in 1997 as a group of Baltimore City residents and city lovers with one mission and one mission only: to promote Baltimore City life to all who would listen (and even those who wouldn’t). One of those residents proposed an iconic slogan and accompanying design that would change the game for decades to come.

“We are just the evolution of a very grassroots resident-led organization that was really born out of resident’s love for their city.”

–Annie Milli, Live Baltimore’s Executive Director

The Designer & The Design

The year was 1998 when marketing and advertising professional Carolyn O’Keefe designed the first “I Love City Life” bumper stickers. Since then, the design’s classic serif font, featuring a red heart and yellow background has barely changed. Although O’Keefe was never an official Live Baltimore employee, she has always been a major supporter, eventually donating the slogan and design to the organization.

In March of 2017, Live Baltimore officially trademarked “I Love City Life”, although the campaign had been synonymous with the organization for many years prior. O’Keefe is currently the Director of Development at Roca Baltimore and will be forever appreciated for her gift of the “I Love City Life” campaign.

How It’s Going

Nowadays, you can see the “I Love City Life” sticker almost anywhere you go in Baltimore City. Our Executive Director, Annie Milli, has seen them on mailboxes, saltboxes, street signs, bar bathrooms, bulletin boards, trash cans, license plates, cars, and more! And, of course, you’ll almost always see it at Live Baltimore events.

The Future

As of now, there are no plans to change the design of “I Love City Life”. There is no need, according to Milli, “It’s iconic.”

“It’s bigger than Carolyn. It’s bigger than us. I think it’s truly a movement, and I think it’s a movement because it’s just simple. It captures a positive sentiment and a spirit that people want to put out into the world.”

–Annie Milli

Want to get your own “I Love City Life” license plate or bumper sticker? Sign up for a profile on our website, and we’ll send you a bumper sticker in the mail! To learn more about how to get your custom “I Love City Life” license plate, click here.