Faculty + Staff

In Memoriam: Bill Brown, graphic designer, illustrator and educator

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Bill Brown
Courtesy of the Brown family

Bill Brown was instrumental in moving the design media arts department at UCLA to use new technologies.

Bill Brown, professor emeritus of design media arts at UCLA, renowned for his talents as a visual communicator and esteemed as a supportive colleague and dedicated mentor to students died Sept. 9. He was 83.

Brown, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UCLA, was a graphic designer, art director, illustrator and design educator. He retired from UCLA in 1999. He developed visual communications for ABC, CBS, NBC, Infiniti Division of Nissan Motors, Westinghouse Broadcasting, the Los Angeles Music Center, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers.

He was also an instrumental figure in moving the design media arts department into its digital future, embracing new technologies while maintaining a commitment to excellence and attention to craft.

“UCLA, the School of the Arts and Architecture, and our department would not be what they are today without the contributions of Bill Brown’s talents, intelligence, and support, and we are the lesser for his passing,” reads a tribute posted on the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture website.

“I graduated UCLA in 1995 and considered Bill Brown my mentor. His passing was such sad news this week. What I appreciated most about Bill's teaching was that he was a working professional and his classes were a glimpse into how design would be actually applied and the critique and criteria that separates work for clients and work for self,” wrote Eric Yim, a UCLA alumnus and former student of Brown’s, in a message on the UCLA Design Media Arts website.

In addition to being creative director of Bill Brown Graphic Design, Brown was the graphics and signage consultant to Hardy/Holzmana/Pfeiffer Associates for the Los Angeles Public Library and to Adele Naude Santos and LDA Architects for the Yerba Buena Gardens Children’s Center in San Francisco. He also served as executive creative consultant at Fattal and Collins.

Brown’s work has appeared in Art Direction, Print Magazine, Print Regional Design Annual, the Los Angeles Art Directors Annual, the Hollywood Television and Radio Society, the Society of Art Center Alumni, u&lc, and Idea International Advertising Art. The AIGA Design Annual, Graphis Packaging and Graphis Design Annual have also published his work.

A celebration of life service was held Sept. 11.

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