Jakob Bill was born as the son of the painter, sculptor and designer Max Bill and his wife Binia. From 1963 to 1971 he studied classical archaeology and art history at the University of Zurich. In 1964 he spent a semester abroad at the Institute of Archaeology at the University of London. Already during his studies, he designed the magazine ads of the Bischofberger Gallery, Zurich, from 1967 to 1969. In 1971 he received his doctorate from the University of Zurich.
Afterwards he was a research assistant in the prehistoric department of the Swiss National Museum in Zurich until 1982. In 1982 Bill became head of archaeological research in the Principality of Liechtenstein and from 1985 to 2001 first full-time cantonal archaeologist for the Canton of Lucerne. From 1991 to 1998 Bill was president of the Association of Cantonal Archaeologists of Switzerland, and since 1996 he has been president of the max, binia + jakob bill foundation and the bill foundation.
Bill is a painter of concrete art, who also designs silkscreens, multiples and murals for public spaces.