Born in New York City, he studied at the Art Students' League and was an art director at N.W. Ayer & Son, J. Walter Thompson, Lord and Thomas and the Atlantic Monthly Press. For a number of years he had his own advertising and industrial design office. He was with the Camouflage Engineers in World War I.
Jacobson, director of Container Corporation's department of design from 1935 to 1956, was one of the shapers of the Great Ideas of Western Man advertising series.
During his travels for Container Corporation, Jacobson was "horrified by the outdoor advertising which was despoiling our country and cityscapes." This led to the publication in 1961 of Sign Language, a book written with Mildred Constantine.
After his retirement in 1956, Jacobson returned to the study of painting and traveled abroad. He wrote a weekly column for the Tampa Tribune on painting, architecture, design and advertising "in the hope of informing readers who have had little or no education in any of these disciplines."
Great Ideas, 1976