share this

Share This Search

News . Feature Stories . Pawlowski looks back on nearly 60 years at CIA


December 12, 2022

Pawlowski looks back on nearly 60 years at CIA

Eugene Pawlowski ’65 testing a variety of logo iterations on the CIA letterpress.

By Carlo Wolff

It must be strange yet also gratifying to look back on a life of service to the Cleveland Institute of Art. Such reflection is likely to occupy Eugene Pawlowski ’65 at least some of the time, now that he’s retired after virtually a lifetime teaching at his alma mater.

Pawlowski is a Cleveland native who taught graphic design at CIA for 55 years, retiring in July 2021. A graduate of Cleveland Central Catholic High School, he matriculated to CIA and earned a BFA in Graphic Design. He spent his illustrious career inculcating students with traditional values and techniques while at the same time making sure they were up to the technological minute.

Along the way, Pawlowski cut quite an artistic swath himself. He exhibited in Cleveland’s legendary May Show several times. He has been recognized by institutions such as the Cleveland Society of Communicating Arts, New York Art Directors Club, American Institute of Graphic Arts, and the Society of Illustrators. His freelance work has been extensive, with clients ranging from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to Progressive, Cleveland Clinic to CIA itself.

He designed the current CIA logo. He detailed his design approach in a 1986 issue of Link.

“I looked closely at the institute’s mission, and I felt strongly that what we try to do (at CIA) is produce a person who is very well-rounded, people who are able to think, analyze, express feelings in a physical way, with their hands,” he said. “I was trying to express the feeling that people here deal with the mind, the eye and the heart in doing what they do.”

Pawlowski taught and developed coursework in Handmade Book, Typography, Visual Communication, and Design and Production, making sure the graphic design curriculum kept pace with the times as they shifted to digital.

Despite his embrace of the new, Pawlowski never lost sight of the foundations of graphic design. Fundamentals were his favorites.

“The part I liked best was teaching Graphic Design students typography and how to deal with the history of typesetting,” he said in August. Even though today’s students use computers, Pawlowski added, “I thought they should have a foundation in the beginnings of letter forms. That’s what I kind of valued most—getting them to appreciate that.”

Pawlowski earned the Schreckengost Award for Teaching Excellence in 2007. What he liked most about teaching was interacting with students. What advice does he have for them in retirement?

“Work really hard, which I think most students are doing,” he says. “I would encourage them to go all out in what they’re doing. Because when they get out into the real world, they’re going to be fighting some pretty serious talent.”

What did he learn from his students over five decades in the classroom?

“How to be a good person. Most of those kids are really very open about their relationships with each other—and how they interact with one another.”

Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn YouTube

Social Feed


For more information about this or other CIA news, contact us here.