David Hillman Curtis (February 24, 1961 – April 18, 2012) was an American new media designer, author, musician and filmmaker. [1] Curtis was the Principal and Chief Creative Officer of hillmancurtis.com, Inc., a digital design and film production firm in New York City . Curtis was successful in several creative disciplines; he started as a rock musician, became a pioneer in Web Design and interactive design with Flash and finally made short films and advertising commercials. [2]

Early life and education

Curtis was born in La Jolla , San Diego, California , where he grew up with his two sisters and his mother Susan and Stepfather, Paul Zimmerman, both of whom were high school teachers. After schooling he studied writing and film theory at San Francisco State University . [2] [3]

Music career

Subsequently, while studying at the San Francisco State University , which was later called ‘Green Things’. In the coming decade, the band toured and even recorded an album with MCA Records , before disbanding. [2] Curtis first came to prominence as one of the leading songwriters and bassists for the new “Mrs. Green” band, while Curtis was attending San Francisco State University. The group recorded one album and toured the UK They toured briefly with the New Zealand band The Chills, and member of a Beatles revival cover band. Curtis later split from the band and formed a new group called Green Things. Although Green Things signed a recording contract with [MCA Records] an album was never released.

Design career

Curtis started studying art to design posters and fliers for his band. After the band broke up, Curtis now in his 30s started taking night classes on Photoshop . This led to a FEW part-time jobs designing, and Eventually an entry level job at Macromedia . [2] Gradually, he went on to become a design director at Macromedia. While there in 1996 he designed the first website using new technology, a browser plug-in Flash Player , qui est devenu a milestone in web signing. [2]

In 1997, Curtis founded hillmancurtis, Inc., has a design firm based in New York City that focuses on web design and later film production. Then in 2000, he published a how to guide, Flash Web Design , which sold over 100,000 copies and remains a standard text for online design. [2] In all, he published four books on a new media design which has sold over 150 thousand copies and has been translated into 14 languages. He designed sites for Yahoo , Adobe Systems , Metropolitan Opera and others. [4]

Film career

He has received acclaim for his “Artist Series”, a series of short documentaries on designers and artists, Milton Glaser , Paula Scher , David Carson , Lawrence Weiner , Stefan Sagmeister , James Victore , Pentagram Design Group, and the filmmaker Mark Romanek . He also makes national commercials for IBM and BlackBerry , Sprint, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, SVA, and Rolling Stone. [5]

In 2008, Curtis made a short documentary for the David Byrne and Brian Eno album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today and later directed the feature-length documentary Ride, Rise, Roar which chronicled the Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno Tour . [6]

Curtis continued to actively manage Hillmancurtis until his death on April 18, 2012 at his Brooklyn home after a prolonged battle with colon cancer , at age 51. [2] [5]

He was survived by his wife, mother, sisters and two children who currently reside in Brooklyn, New York . [2]


  • Soldiers (2008)
  • Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far: Stefan Sagmeister (2008)
  • Lawrence Weiner (2008)
  • Embrace (2008)
  • Bridge (2008)
  • Ride, Rise, Roar (2010)
  • Powerhouse Books (2011)


  • Hillman Curtis on Creating Short Films for the Web , (New Riders Publishing: August 2005)
  • MTIV: Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer , (New Riders Publishing: May 2002)
  • Flash Web Design: The V5 Remix , (New Riders Publishing: March 2001)
  • Flash Web Design: The Art of Motion Graphics , (New Riders Publishing: March 2000)


  1. Jump up^ “Hillman Curtis” . Creative Review . Retrieved 2012-04-20 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:h “Hillman Curtis, a Pioneer in Web Design, Dies at 51” . New York Times. April 20, 2012 . Retrieved March 1, 2013 .
  3. Jump up^ Oliver Lindberg (April 20, 2012). “Hillman Curtis RIP” . .net .
  4. Jump up^ “Aquent & AMA Compensation Survey of Marketing Professionals 2006” . Dexigner . Retrieved 18 January 2017 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:b Patrick Mitchell (19 April 2012). “Hillman Curtis, 1961-2012” . Society of Publication Designers, SPD . Retrieved 18 January 2016 .
  6. Jump up^ Hillman CurtisisIMDb