Charles Goslin

Distinguished Teacher 2003–04

Professor Charles Goslin has been teaching communications design at Pratt Institute since 1968. He also served as chairperson of the Undergraduate Communications Design department from 1974-1975 and helped to create the Design Core project, which connected students with clients who needed pro-bono design services. The initiative greatly benefitted Pratt students by providing real-world experience.

Goslin graduated with a bachelor of fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1954. After graduation, he worked as a graphic designer for such companies as IBM, Price Waterhouse, Pfizer, Inc, The Robbins Company, Merch and Company, and Harper & Row, Inc. He has also worked as a designer for the firm of noted graphic designer Lester Beall.

His work has been published in Graphis, Graphic Design, Novum Gerbrauchsgraphik, Idea, Print, CA, Art Direction, Graphics Annual, The Modern Publicity Annual, The International Poster Annual, and Graphis Packaging. He has participated in numerous exhibitions, including the Biennale of Graphic Design in Brno, Czechoslovakia, the International Book Design Exhibition, in Leipzig, Germany; Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History at the IBM Gallery of Science and Art in New York City; and the 2000 Kyongnam International Design Exhibition in South Korea. Goslin has received many accolades for his innovative designs, including awards from the Society of Illustrators, AIGA, and the New York Art Director’s Club.

Commencement Speech

Wonderful things are rarely done by comfortable people. You have the opportunity to work every day and look forward to the experience, enjoying your effort, nourished by it, so much that some of you will work a seven day week just because you want to.

Don’t look for style. Let it find you, again and again as it deepens and grows in richness, and as to your style, your friends will recognize it, you won’t, unless you stole someone else’s. Style comes to you when it is ready and it comes as inevitably a sweat on a July day.

Don’t expect to revolutionize the world. You won’t. But you can change and mould you corner of the world. You have the option to bring it intelligence, beauty and coherence. Your legacy is your talent. Use it well.

That small child with the scissors and colored paper, sitting in the middle of the parental living room rug, making shapes out of beautiful colors, for his or her own joy, not for money, not for critical acclaim, that child is you. You have the opportunity to create what never was. Forget about revolutionizing the world. Work for the joy of working, and without intending to, you will help to change your corner of the world.

Divya Dileep, Adria Taricani, Noble Cumming, Natsuko Bosaka, Lori Leonard, Omid Mohadjeri, Aki Carpenter, Han Cheung, Stephanie Goralnick, Mike Gerbino, Kathleen Creighton; an abridged cross section of this fine college, granting you degrees today. Your work should be as inventive and diverse as these beautiful names. Resis that ever-present and mind-numbing pressure to conform. You can’t conform. You are special.

What is familiar to us is reassuring, and ultimately boring. What is different about us is beautiful, stimulating, and wonderfully disturbing.

Now some of you have been told, “You’ll never get away with it,” that ground-breaking idea that is so vital to you. Well, you never will get away with it if you don’t try. But if you do try, again and again and again, you will know the gratification of creating something as personal as your signature, your brain waves in a painting, in the design of a wrench, a car, a buliding, a trademark, anything that needs creating.

You have a wonderful life. You can help heal a world full of hurt and violence, with the beauty and grace it so desperately needs.

Never give up. Never give in.