In Remembrance of Jim Ales

The San Francisco Bay Area design community mourns the loss of our dear friend, colleague, and AIGA SF Fellow, Jim Ales, who passed away unexpectedly on April 20th.

Jim was passionately dedicated to AIGA, and to giving back to the design community. He shall be deeply missed, though his legacy will live on in our memories and through the stories we share, and his design legacy. Please send your remembrances and favorite stories about Jim to dawn@aigasf.org, which will be collected and shared later with the greater community.

As we learn more about services and opportunities to honor Jim, we will share that information.


Jim Ales was widely known as a design strategist, thought leader and advocate for his profession. For 17 years, as Art Director for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Jim was responsible for strategy, creative direction, and brand management. The Aquarium is recognized as a worldwide leader in ocean conservation. Jim’s work supported the mission of the Aquarium, influencing the way individuals, corporations and government agencies understand and interact with ocean environments.

Jim served on the AIGA National Board of Directors from 2006 to 2009, and is a recipient of the AIGA Environmental Leadership Award. His work appears in Graphis, AIGA, Communication Arts, Museum News, Applied Arts, How and Print magazines. He served as a juror for AIGA 365, Communication Arts and the Oakland Museum of California. His commentary on design and sustainability are featured in Allworth Press, Rockport Publishers, and several AIGA publications. In 2011, Jim was awarded the degree of Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments and influence in the Arts.