Remembering Professor Charles Goslin of Pratt Institute

Charles Goslin - Pratt Institute Design Teacher

Charles Goslin (1932-2007) is one person that keeps popping up in the back of my head while working on graphic design assignments back in Pratt Institute. I would ask myself, “what would Charlie say if he saw this?” And I would imagine him saying, “if it is not needed, take it out.” I am greatly influenced by Charlie with the way I design even today. Now five years after leaving us, I still ask myself the same questions and would wonder what Charlie would say when dealing with design projects.

The following speech was made by Professor Charles Goslin of Pratt Institute at the May, 2003 commencement on the main campus in Brooklyn, New York, upon receiving the Distinguished Teachers award for the year (2003-2004). Pratt has been honoring teachers of distinction since 1978.

Never Give Up. Never Give In.

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 a style. Let if 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 as sweat on a July day.

Don’t expect to revolutionize the world. You won’t. But you can change and mould your 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. Resist 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 building, a trademark, anything that needs creating.

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


Photos were taken by great photographer and fellow Pratt Alumni Steph Goralnick. Click on the link to view this photo along with the touching story that comes with it.

Here is another wonderful piece written by former student Scott Santoro about Charles Goslin.

June 12th, 2012 | Blog | 5006 Views | 2 Comments ›


  1. July 30th, 2012

    […] Photo from another Goslin homage at My Design Pad […]

  2. January 28th, 2015

    I remember Goslin saying to me once after looking over a piece I had designed: “Its trendy, slick, predicable and don’t ever do it.”

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