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Reynold Ruffins – RIP

Illustrator, graphic designer and artist Reynold Ruffins has passed away.

Reynold Dash Ruffins
August 5, 1930 – July 11, 2021


From the New York Times obituary:

Reynold Ruffins, an illustrator, graphic designer and artist who was an early member of Push Pin Studios, the impish and buzzy design firm founded by his Cooper Union classmates Milton Glaser, Ed Sorel and Seymour Chwast, died on July 11 at his home in Sag Harbor, N.Y. He was 90.

The cause was cardiac arrest, his son Seth said.

In witty, faux-nostalgic drawings and lettering, Mr. Glaser, Mr. Chwast, Mr. Sorel and Mr. Ruffins, all illustrators, turned the field on its head, and in so doing largely created the postmodern discipline of graphic design, by taking what had been disparate roles — illustration and type design — and putting them together.


From Dan’s Papers:

A graduate of NYC’s prestigious Cooper Union, Ruffins earned numerous awards including Cooper Union’s Presidential Citation and the school’s Augustus St. Gaudens Award for outstanding professional achievement in the arts. He was also honored with The New York Art Directors Club Award, The Society of Illustrators’ Silver Medal and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for his children’s books and he was a professor emeritus at Queens College, CUNY. He also taught at the School of Visual Arts and The Parsons-New School of Design, and was a visiting adjunct professor at Syracuse University.

As a fine artist, Ruffins moved away from the narrative illustration that brought him to prominence and instead focused on shape and color in expressionistic drawings and acrylic paintings.


From the East Hampton Star:

Mr. Ruffins left the firm in 1960 to work as a freelance artist, and three years later co-founded the design studio Ruffins/Taback with Simms Taback. The two shared an office for 28 years.

He co-illustrated his first children’s book, “The Amazing Maze,” with Mr. Taback in 1969, and went on to illustrate nearly 20 more, the most recent of which, “A Friend for King Amadou,” was published in 2006.

Reynold’s website


Community Comments

#1 Rob Cooke
@ 7:11 am

I too started out at the drawing board, mechanical pencils and spare time doodles that never made sense to the business of surveying; when I first went to one of his shows I kept hearing how he was a graphic artist. All I saw was fanciful abstracts and circus imagery splashed colorfully on canvas. It didn’t look like t-shirt artwork, later I found his early work from the Push-Pin almanac and suddenly I found the doodles of me, in the artist that Reynold was. A well-lived life, he will be missed.

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