Don Albinson studied design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Founded in 1932 with Eliel Saarinen as its first director, the design school soon made a name for itself. In the 1930s Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier were visiting professors there. Numerous famous designers graduated from Cranbrook, including Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames, and Harry Bertoia. Except for Ray Eames, they all also taught at Cranbrook Academy.
In 1940 Charles Eames was head of the industrial design department and Don Albinson was a student of his. Florence Schust also studied there; in 1943 she met Hans Knoll and founded Knoll International with him. After finishing his studies, Don Albinson worked for Charles and Ray Eames in Los Angeles, where he had a large share in developing the technique of making molded wooden seat furniture.
Don Albinson also collaborated on numerous furniture designs for the Hermann Miller Company, notably the 1958 "Aluminium Group" of chairs. Don Albinson's particular strength was his knowledge of construction techniques and production processes.
In 1964 Don Albinson became head of development at Knoll International. That same year Don Albinson designed the "Albinson" stackable chair of cast aluminium and plastic, his most successful design. From 1971 Don Albinson was a design consultant for office furnishings at Westinghouse.
Don Albinson taught industrial design at the University of California.