I went to Pratt Institute in the early 70’s. I have always been interested in communicating, and so I was drawn to study Advertising Design with the intention that I could make films.
In the basic program, I was required to study Typography I & II. Those classes were taught by a tall, willowy, quiet fellow named Ray Barber. Basically, I learned how to hand letter with a broad flat chiseled- tipped pencil, and then how to transfer type to be inked in with pen or brush.
The classes were 3 hours long in what was library-like silence. Mr. Barber would move about the room with whispered words of encouragement. Otherwise, it was a tedious, boring experience.
However, as I look back on all the classes I took in my early days at Pratt, the skills I learned from Ray Barber’s class have proved to be the most useful. Today, I can easy visualize and create a poster for some cause without hesitation. Who would have thought- that those endless hours invested swiveling that pencil on the paper would be so practical!
Thank you, Mr. Barber!
He was amazingly talented. (I say “was” because he, unfortunately, died in a freak accident in 1996.)
I always imagined Ray as the reincarnation of a Medieval monk, toiling devotedly over his illuminated manuscripts by candlelight. Or, he could have been a Spencerian penman from the late nineteenth century. Look and marvel at this hand designed “Valentine.” Isn’t it gorgeous? The lettering looks like lacework.