Profile: Reynold Ruffins (1930-)

Reynold Ruffins an American painter, illustrator, and graphic designer. With Milton Glaser, Edward Sorel, and Seymour Chwast, Ruffins founded Push Pin Studios in 1954. An illustrator of more than twenty children’s books, Ruffins is known for his “stylistic versatility, vibrant colors, and penchant for fanciful creatures.” He has had many solo exhibitions and been part of group show exhibitions at Paris’ Musée du Louvre, and in Milan, Bologna, and Tokyo.


Ruffins attended the High School of Music & Art in New York City and Cooper Union. In 1954, he co-founded Push Pin Studios with fellow Cooper graduates Glaser, Sorel, and Chwast. In 1963, after leaving Push Pin, Ruffins founded another design studio with Simms Taback, a partnership which lasted for more than thirty years. Commercial clients included IBM, AT&T, Coca-Cola, CBS, Pfizer, the New York Times, Time-Life, Fortune, Gourmet Magazine, and the U.S. Post Office.

Ruffins entered the field of children’s book illustrations in 1969, and throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, he frequently collaborated with writer Jane Sarnoff.

In 1991, Ruffins teamed with Whoopi Goldberg and Herbie Hancock to produce “Koi and the Kola Nuts,” a highly praised video for children which was part of Rabbit Ears Productions’ We All Have Tales series.

Ruffins lives in Sag Harbor, New York; his wife Joan passed in 2013.


A professor emeritus at CUNY’s Queens College, Ruffins has also taught at the School of Visual Arts, Parsons The New School for Design, and was a visiting adjunct professor at Syracuse University.


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