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A Life and Legacy

Alina Radziejowska Wheeler

Alina Wheeler passed away on December 5, 2023. Born and raised in South Orange, New Jersey, she was the daughter of a sea captain, the wife of a photographer, the mother of two women, the grandmother of two young men, a friend to legions, a designer, and an author. Her first language was Polish.

Alina graduated from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in 1970. Years later, she received their prestigious Silver Star Award for outstanding alumni. She co-founded Katz Wheeler, one of Philadelphia’s top graphic design firms. In 2003, she published Designing Brand Identity, a worldwide bestseller, translated into 11 languages and now in its sixth edition. She also co-authored Brand Atlas: Branding Intelligence Made Visible, a comprehensive guide to the brand process.

Dedicated to design leadership, Alina was a founding board member of AIGA Philadelphia, and became its president in 1985. She served on AIGA’s national board and was among its inaugural AIGA Fellows. She was a founding board member of African Design Matters, a global partnership cataloguing the creative work of people of African descent. One of the world’s foremost brand consultants, Alina influenced design professionals globally, from Bavaria to Barcelona, India to Ghana, Dubai to Detroit. Her mantra was simple, yet transformational: “Who are you? Who needs to know? How will they find out? Why should they care?”

While Alina’s books have illuminated branding for countless students and professionals, those who knew her will remember her warmth, wisdom, and wit. To every project, every relationship, every conversation, Alina brought a touch of magic. She liked to say, “Make sure you have an I-believe-in-you person.” Thank you, Alina, for being that person for so many of us.

Mentoring the next generation

Alina mentored and inspired design students all over the world. To honor her unwavering commitment to future generations, please donate:

Alina Wheeler Design Scholarship | University of the Arts, Philadelphia
Alina Wheeler Memorial Scholarship Fund | AIGA Philadelphia

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