Brian Willson was born in 1951 in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in Austin, Texas. At the end of the 1970s he completed a degree in radio/television/film at the University of Texas in Austin. Willson has lived in Maine since 1980, where he works as a writer and journalist. Since the mid-90s, he has operated the Three Islands Press (3IP) full-time, a design and publishing company founded in Rockland. He has designed fonts since 1993.