Lawrence Ratzkin (A’51) was a prominent graphic designer noted for his cunning design solutions honed down to their graphic essence. His designs won him repeated awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts and others. During his design career, which spanned from 1960 into the early years of this century, he produced thousands of book jackets for the major American publishing houses, including Simon & Schuster, Random House, E.P. Dutton, Harper & Row, David McKay, Putnam, Farrar Strauss and Giroux, Knopf and William Morrow.
He designed book covers for such celebrated authors as Joan Didion, Letty Pogrebin, William Greider, Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Korda, Isaac Bashevis Singer, E.L. Doctorow, Philip Roth, Bob Woodward, Tom Clancy, John Lennon, Oriana Fallaci, Tom Wolfe, P.G. Wodehouse, S.J. Perelman, Robert Penn Warren and Anthony Burgess. Among his well known jackets are covers for A Mother’s Kisses, Treblinka, The Selling of the President 1968, The Progress of a Crime, The Diary of a Rapist, In Flanders Fields, Nam, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask, and The Inner City Mother Goose, for which he also produced the visuals. He also designed numerous covers for Harper’s Magazine.
Confronting changes in the publishing industry, Ratzkin initiated the group Graphic Artists for Self-Preservation (GASP!), which subsequently merged with the Graphic Artists Guild. Lawrence Ratzkin died on May 18, 2011 at his home in Manhattan. He is survived by his son, Andrew, and his grandchildren Michael, Benjamin and Camila.