Wednesday Geek Woman: Betty Willis

This is a guest post by Alicia Aho. Alicia Aho is an erotic romance author and language geek (five and counting!).

Betty Willis was a commercial artist and neon sign designer in Las Vegas at the height of its love affair with neon. She designed the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, which is now the most copied design in the world–thanks in no small part to Willis’ refusal to allow the design to be copyrighted.

She also designed the lovely lettered sign for the Moulin Rouge, which was the first fully integrated hotel on the strip. Both the “fabulous” on the Las Vegas sign and the lettering on the Moulin Rouge were based on Willis’ own handwriting. Willis worked for many years at Ad Art, and collaborated with other (male) designers on such historic neon pieces as the Frontier sign and the Stardust sign (both now awaiting restoration in the Neon Museum’s boneyard). She retired at the age of 77.

Wikipedia: Betty Willis
New York Times, 2005: AT HOME WITH: Betty Willis, A Neon Come-Hither, Still Able to Flirt. Ignore the headline, which is awful.

Creative Commons License
This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.