Roy R. Behrens
Professor of Art
Distinguished Scholar
graphic design

Roy Behrens is a writer, designer and artist who has taught graphic design, digital image design, and design history at the University of Northern Iowa since 1990. Prior to that, he taught for many years at other schools, including the Art Academy of Cincinnati and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was a sergeant in the US Marine Corps in the Vietnam War era, after which he earned a graduate degree at the Rhode Island School of Design.

As a writer, he has published several hundred articles, and seven books, among them Design in the Visual Arts (1984), Illustration as an Art (1986), FALSE COLORS: Art, Design and Modern Camouflage (2002), COOK BOOK: Gertrude Stein, William Cook and Le Corbusier (2005), CAMOUPEDIA: A Compendium of Research in Art, Architecture and Camouflage (2009), and SHIP SHAPE: A Dazzle Camouflage Sourcebook (2012). He was also among the contributors to DPM: An Encyclopedia of Camouflage (2004), and Animal Camouflage: Mechanisms and Functions (2011).

For many years, he was art director of the North American Review, in the course of which he illustrated books, short stories and poetry by prominent writers, among them Jerzy Kosinski (cover of The Painted Bird), Guy Davenport (“Christ Preaching at the Henley Regatta”), and Margaret Atwood. Beginning in 1985, for twenty-five years, he edited and published Ballast Quarterly Review, described as “a periodical commonplace book.” In recent years, he has turned to book and web design. In 2007, he designed a huge new book about Bauhaus ceramics, edited by Dean and Geraldine Schwarz, titled Marguerite Wildenhain and the Bauhaus: An Eyewitness Anthology. He has designed and posted websites that celebrate the life and work of such people as Rudolf Arnheim, Merle Armitage, Elbert Hubbard, Richard Eckersley, and Everett Warner. He has also written extensively on the work of Wisconsin book artist Walter Hamady and The Perishable Press Ltd.

He has appeared in interviews on NOVA, BBC Radio, Iowa Public Television's Living in Iowa, and in several documentary films. His awards include the Donald McKay Outstanding Faculty Award, the CHFA Award for Faculty Excellence, the Iowa Board of Regents Faculty Excellence Award, and others. He has been described by Communication Arts magazine as "one of the most original thinkers in design," and was a nominee for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Awards in 2003. 

A native Iowan and a UNI alumnus, he often writes about little known aspects of Iowa cultural history. As a Humanities Iowa Speaker, he often gives presentations about Frank Lloyd Wright, Grant Wood, Buffalo Bill, ship camouflage, and other topics. He is married to artist Mary Snyder Behrens, with whom he founded a publishing firm in 2002 called Bobolink Books. To visit his web pages, click here.

contact click here

Please note The copyright for any and all artwork on this website belongs to its originators.
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Roy Behrens— 
“In 45 years as a teacher in schools throughout the country, UNI is by far the place I’ve enjoyed the most.” Heartfelt Digital montage, 2011 Cover of FALSE COLORS: Art, Design and Modern Camouflage (2002) Cover of COOK BOOK: Gertrude Stein, William Cook and Le Corbusier (2005) Right Marguerite Wildenhain and the Bauhaus: An Eyewitness Anthology (2007)
Above and right (clockwise) Catalog exhibition cover. Bobolink Books logo. Rudolf Arnheim website. Animated title panel for design history course
Cover of SHIP SHAPE: A Dazzle Camouflage Sourcebook (an anthology of writings about ship camouflage during World War I) (2012)
camouflage blog poetry
of sight
blog T-Shirt 2012 Click here for radio interview on dazzle camouflage
Bobolink Books  |  Iowa Home Page  |  CAMOUPEDIA  |  How Ballast Began  |  How Form Functions  |  WPA