Defense of Life

Will Burtin

Cover of Defense of Life, exhibition booklet for Upjohn. The exhibition opened in 1969.

Images of Defense of Life

  1. Image 1 — Burtin 07 (Defense of Life)

    Will Burtin, USA (1955)

    Wilburn (Will) Burtin studied typography at the Hand-werkskammer Köln while apprenticed (1922–26), art/graphics at Cologne Werkschulen. He established Entwurfe Burtin (Designs by Burtin) in 1927. He taught in Berlin and...

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    • Defense of Life, 1969

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    Cover of Defense of Life, exhibition booklet for Upjohn. The exhibition opened in 1969.

    Education: until age 14. Studied typography at Hand werkskammer Köln while apprenticed, 1922–26; then studied art/graphics at Cologne Werkschulen. Established Entwurfe Burtin (Designs by Burtin), 1927–38. Taught in Berlin, marrying his student Hilde Munk, 1932. Hitler demanded Burtin become design director of the Propaganda Ministry (1938). Instead, he took his Jewish wife to New York, winning Federal Works Agency contract for 1939 World’s Fair. Freelance design for Time-Life, others. War work: OSS, designed aerial gunnery manuals. Art director for Fortune magazine, 1945– 49. From 1949 Will Burtin, Inc. served corporate clients, including Upjohn. Renowned for scientific models: Cell, Brain, Uranium Atom, others. After Hilde’s death he married Cipe Pineles. Will Burtin pioneered the fields of scientific visualization, information design, corporate identity and multimedia (he called it ‘Integration’). His large models foreshadowed computer-assisted virtual environments (CAVE).



    Teacher of Communication Design

      1939 – 1943

      • Pratt Institute (USA)

      Chairman of the Visual Communication department

        1959 – ?

        • Pratt Institute (USA)


        • Will Burtin, Inc.

          1949 – 1971

        • Fortune magazine (Art Director)

          1945 – 1949

        • US Army (Designer)

          1943 – 1945

        • Entwurfe Bürtin

          1927 – 1938