Ann Dudrow (1943–2022) A Fond Remembrance

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Environmental graphics pioneer and SEGD Fellow Ann Dudrow passed away April 2, 2022,  after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Ann was an early practitioner of graphic design for architecture and had a forty-plus year career bringing colorful, placemaking graphics to retail environments around the world. Ann was a passionate ambassador for integrating artistic graphics, color and style into shopping environments and gathering places.

After studying in Rome, Ann graduated with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in the anything-goes sixties, and after a year in New York, joined the Baltimore office of architectural firm RTKL. She soon became director of graphic design for the firm’s destination retail projects around the world. Ann then found herself part of the design team planning the new city of Columbia, Maryland, under the visionary Jim Rouse. There, amid the architects, planners, and landscape architects, she learned to be what we now know as an environmental graphic designer.

Ann’s work was innovative, colorful and influential, demonstrating that graphic design could play an important role in creating a sense of place. Her graphics often set the tone for a place, even more than the architecture. As one of the early women in the field of environmental graphic design, Ann was active in the field and held numerous leadership positions with SEGD in both Los Angeles and Baltimore. In 1993 she was named an SEGD Fellow, only the second woman to be so recognized at that time. 

In 1996, Ann relocated to the Los Angeles office of RTKL and later established her own design

consulting firm working on large-scale urban shopping center projects in China, Singapore and

Malaysia. In the final years of her career she served as Director of Environmental Graphic Design for Australian shopping center developer Westfield Group. There, as part of development teams, she provided creative approaches to wayfinding systems and elements designed to enhance the built environment. 

Ann was also an excellent and  prolific plein air painter, primarily documenting the scenery and environment in the hills around her canyon home in Los Angeles’ Mt. Washington neighborhood with a close set of like-minded painters. Over 20 years, the informal group had regular salons and shows.  

Ann collected gallery-worthy classic European posters and had an eye for finding and assembling otherwise humble or overlooked common objects; her sets of folding carpenter rules, noisemakers and matchboxes were legendary. Often outspoken, Ann had a quick wit and regularly solved the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles. She loved jazz, art, conversation and hosting friends around the big marble counter in her kitchen. 

Ann was liked, respected and admired by architects, fellow designers and clients—and loved and cherished by her many friends. 

— Wayne Hunt, colleague, neighbor, fellow artist and friend