Carin Goldberg A’75 

While studying painting at The Cooper Union, Carin Goldberg took an internship at CBS Television, thanks to alumnus Lou Dorfsman, who was the network’s highly influential director of design. Two years later, Goldberg moved to CBS Music where she worked for Paula Scher, at the time CBS Music’s art director. While Goldberg’s time with Dorfsman taught her the importance of precision and detail, her tenure at CBS music was more experimental and resulted in hundreds of album designs. She recalled the exceptional design library in the office and the way she and her young colleagues absorbed the work of early modernists like Herbert Beyer, the Italian Futurists, and the Russian Constructivists. Goldberg’s scholarly interest in the history of design and typeface, she said, was essential to her own art. 

Credited by the New York Times as having transformed book and album cover design, she created distinctive work for Bette Midler, Chic, and Yo-Yo Ma, among many others. Perhaps her best-known cover was for Madonna’s first album—a close-up photograph of the singer with her name running down each side of the cover. While most of the letters appeared in black and white, the O’s were fashioned in red. 

Of that early period of her life as a designer, she said, “I was learning and trying new things in an environment that allowed me to play. Simply. There was nothing forced or contrived about it. It had an open, organic quality that I treasure.” 

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.