AIGA San Francisco

the professional association for design


Steve Reoutt 1938-2008

For 41 years Steve Reoutt touched the lives and enlightened the minds of the students of the California College of the Arts (CCA). He was a founding member of the San Francisco AIGA, and from 1996–2005 served on its board as the organization’s only design historian. He was made an AIGA fellow in 2001, and just this month was honored as an Emeritus Professor of Design at CCA. He passed away on May 14 of pancreatic cancer.

Through his lectures, encyclopedic knowledge and wealth of ephemera, Steve drew connections between the past and present with unique insight and inimitable humor. As we mourn his passing we celebrate his legacy and pause to give thanks for his profound and lasting influence on all of the communities he touched.

His family has requested privacy. Letters of condolence may be sent c/o

Mark Reoutt
2278 30th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94116

Please, no flowers.

The California College of the Arts has created a named scholarship in honor of Steve Reoutt. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to:

CCA/Steve Reoutt Scholarship
c/o Camille Gerstel
CCA Advancement
5212 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94601

Checks can be made out to “CCA.” Please include a note or indicate on the check that the gift is being made towards the Steve Reoutt Scholarship.


On 23 May 2008 @ 11:53pm, 11:53pm justin holbrook wrote:

i met steve this january (2008) upon entering cca, and took his ‘history of visual communication’ course during the spring semester. i enjoyed his insight and his sense of humor during the class, and despite knowing him only a short time, he made a big impact on me. in fact, 7 days before his passing i had received some recommendations from him about a few particular design books. i am deeply saddened by this news.

On 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:55pm, 12:55pm Gary Lewis wrote:

I was shocked to hear of Steve’s passing just two days ago, so long after his death. In another life, long ago, Steve was married to one of my wife’s best friends, and as a result we often socialized together. I know almost nothing of art, but I loved Steve’s paintings, his wry, sarcastic humor, his intelligence, and his unapologetic opining. Steve was real in everything he did, and was true to himself. If you wanted an honest answer about something from Steve, you didn’t have to ask for it. You were going to get it whether you liked what you heard or not. That level of honesty is rare in this world.

I’m sad to have lost contact with him nearly 20 years ago due to my own divorce, but have many fond memories of Steve. When I picture him now, he is wearing sweat pants and a sweatshirt, standing on a bluff at Sea Ranch painting the shoreline, or standing on the top of a houseboat in the California Delta capturing an early-morning vista of placid sloughs bathed in fog.

Rest easy, Steve. You are missed.

On 4 Jan 2011 @ 7:08pm, 7:08pm Jan Olin Nakamura wrote:

Aloha All,

When I remember Professor Steve Reoutt – I am grateful for the how and what he taught me. Before meeting Professor Reoutt – some students were saying that he was difficult … I was new to CCAC way back then … early 70’s and so I was nervous about taking his class. The reality soon became very clear to me … Professor Reoutt was an excellent teacher if you were willing to give your full effort. I truly benefitted from his knowledge and guidance.

Mahalo nui Professor Reoutt – God Bless you and your family. 1.4.2011

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