I attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NYC. Each year the whole class has what is called a “Survey.” Basically, you take your best pieces from that whole year and put together a display to show off to the faculty and other students. Kind of like a bunch of lame trade show booths that keep you up all night before to put together. You weren’t graded on Survey, but the professors would leave constructive feedback (mostly) for you to swallow over the summer. I remember my Typography II professor, James Montalbano*, left a note that roughly said that I just didn’t get Typography and never would. Oh, I was fuming. The constructive criticism was missing its constructive! Perhaps it lit a hot enough fire under my arse that I paid extra-special attention to my typographical designs and gained the typography skills that Montalbano never thought I would have, but mostly it just pissed me off.*

Anyhow, after your Senior Year Survey the best students from every discipline (design, illustration, interior design, architecture, etc…) get the honor of displaying their work, again, at The Puck Show (named after The Puck Building in SoHo where the show was held annually). The show is now called The Pratt Show, since apparently Pratt lost its lease with The Puck Building and no longer holds classes there. The Pratt Show is now held at the grand Hammerstein Ballroom, in Manhattan each year.

The show is annually split up into two days. The first day is for creative professionals to come and view the cream of Pratt’s crop. It’s a chance for the young budding artists to network for the first time with people who actually make a living being creative. Most of the students have homemade business cards and a stack of resumes on hand to stuff into any passerbys open pocket. After the professionals walk through they have a catered reception for them. It’s quite fancy. The second day is for your family to come and see their hard earned tuition dollars actually starting to pay off. They hug you and take your picture in front of your work and meet your friends and teachers. It’s all very nice.

Well, when I was a senior, I was invited to show my work at The Puck Show. It was more of a formality for me since I was already promised a full-time designer job at Indika: Entertainment Advertising, but it was still a huge honor at the time that only a handful of Pratt students from each graduating class get to have.

Yesterday, I received my first “official” invitation to The Pratt Show, as a visiting Creative Professional. I say “official” because I actually went to the show on the professionals day last year for the first time. That wasn’t a real invitation, since the chair of the communication design department, Joe Roberts, spoke to me on the phone and invited me last minute. This year, I got the real deal. The real 4/4 Process, accordion folded, varnished in all its varnishy goodness invitation. I’ve already invited my very pregnant wife to accompany me. She went last year too. We like to get dolled up for our night on the town.

* Montalbano is actually a very talented and successful type designer and well respected within the design community. He just didn’t impress me much as a teacher.