Testimonials & Contributors

Ray’s Work Was Awe Inspiring Every Week.

If Ray was a musician he would have been playing at Carnegie Hall every week, working his Stradivarius violin and making beautiful letterforms that sing with personality, life and vibrancy. As an instructor, his passion and love for typography was contagious. As a student, I could not wait for my Friday Morning class of Typography; I arrived at 9 AM sharp every week, so as not to miss a minute. Ray would walk into class with a smile, and share his weekly assignment for so many major clients.  I could not help but get excited. His endless creative letterforms were simply typographic genius and executed with such amazing precision, they were awe inspiring. I recall telling myself “This is exactly what I want to do in my design career”.

As an instructor, Ray was always too kind and optimistic even on weeks when I was struggling to hit a home run with a new design. Ray would always point out the good in your design and he would always have some wonderful suggestions on how to improve your design and bring it up to an “A” level. He was such a kind and gentle man, I would occasionally tell him he was too easy on everyone and he would just smile.  One of my proudest moments was a few years later, when I was asked to come back and teach design at Pratt.  I was standing beside Ray at the student Faculty Survey, and Ray gave me a smile and repeated my words telling me “I was too easy” with my critiques of student work.

Thank you Ray for the great instruction, life time of inspiration and examples that have helped make me an award-winning designer today

— Ted DeCagna , Class of 1980

Creative Director/ Senior Designer, Ted DeCagna Graphic Design, Cranford, NJ

Ray Barber / Instructor / Influence / Friend

I was fortunate to have been one of Ray Barber’s early students when he taught a class in Typography at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY Fall 1969. With open eyes and ears I was committed to soaking up everything this man had to offer as I respected his design sense and was enamored with his technical ability to create letterforms and logo designs that I aspired to as an 18 year old kid from Brooklyn.

Ray’s sensitivity to ‘flow and form’ and ‘black and white’ space and ‘design and appropriateness’ were the qualities I hoped to gain by taking his class.  I was not disappointed. Ray Barber was soft spoken, encouraging, and most of all generous with his knowledge and experience. He always had the time for you and your questions and interest in design.

Ray’s work was state-of-the-art in the late 1960s with his eye on the changing world of design as influenced by his predecessors and his contemporaries in graphic design, illustration & lettering. The music industry was also a major influence on Ray’s design sensibilities as that industry was embarking on major world changes. This hit me in the heart as I was also involved in a rock band making records and touring while attending art school.

Everyone who knew Ray Barber had similar comments and praise about the man, the designer, the husband, the teacher, and the friend. He was the real deal!

I went on to become a professional logo/ lettering specialist and was invited to speak in Ray’s class numerous times after Pratt. I always refer to Ray as an ‘influencer’.

— Tom Nikosey , Class of 1972

Creative Director, Senior Graphic Designer, Tom Nikosey Design, CA

Ray Taught Me to Think Like A Designer

If you’re really lucky, someone in your youth made a lasting, positive difference – often a teacher. In Spring 1983, I was lucky to land in Ray Barber’s typography class. 

Despite Pratt’s reputation as a high-pressure creative environment, Ray’s classes were remarkably relaxed and un-intimidating. A gentlemanly professional, his attitude was “Let me teach you how to think and act like a successful designer.”

Perhaps because of his own formative college years in Indiana and Ohio, Ray displayed admirable Midwestern attributes of know-how and humbleness – balanced by discipline.

He leaned on that discipline to fulfill demanding professional lettering jobs outside of Pratt teaching responsibilities. We students were overwhelmed whenever Ray shared in class a just-completed project, often the ink still wet.

I remember seeing:

  • A logotype exploration for Sears (the Amazon.com of its day)
    and sketches for Fortune 500 companies and many well-known New York City brands.<
  • Gorgeously swirling romantic script for steamy romance novels.<
  • Hand-lettered name cards for a Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala dinner.
  • Motion picture titles, particularly playful, Art Deco lettering for “The Muppets Take Manhattan.”

Ray stressed that successful designs benefit from “visual involvement” and an emotional connection with the audience. And, that a unique visual personality most appropriate for one assignment should not be easily transferrable to another. Equally relevant for creating lettering, logos or image art.

A calming presence in the tough city, I would wave to Ray as he walked his herd of dogs (Muffy, Prima, and Sterling) around campus. We kept in touch after graduation, and he invited me to return to Pratt to speak about a young designer’s experiences in the real world. That was an honor and a blast. Ray’s wedding gift – ornate hand lettering of “Garrett & Michelle” – is a family treasure.

I enjoy a successful career designing primarily for entertainment clients, and continually rely on conceptual and technical skills learned in Ray’s class. Chief among many exceptional Pratt instructors, Ray Barber’s teachings made a lasting, positive impact on my days beyond Clinton Hill.

— Garrett Burke , Class of 1985

Creative Director, Garrett Burke Design, CA


A special Thank You to all financial contributors of this web site including:

Lynda Graham Barber,  Tom Nikosey,  Gregg Lukasiewicz,   Peter Ikrath,   Elizabeth R. Lewin,

Richard Lebenson, Paul Golden, Thomas Lawyer

With special Thanks to Lynda Graham Barber for providing most of the logo designs of Ray’s you are viewing on these pages.


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