New book explores the work of graphic design pioneer Will Burtin
Third book in chapbook series published by RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press
July 6, 2009
by Kelly Downs
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Will Burtin (1908-1972) is part of a revolutionary group of mid-century designers who changed the method of information communication. Burtin’s work is the subject of a new chapbook, Will Burtin: The Display of Visual Knowledge, written by R. Roger Remington, the Lella and Massimo Vignelli Professor of Design at Rochester Institute of Technology. RIT’s Cary Graphic Arts Press is the chapbook’s publisher.
The book is the third in the RIT Graphic Design Archives Chapbook Series and outlines Burtin’s career as a designer and graphic arts innovator, while displaying vivid illustrations of his designs that highlight the effect his work had on the graphic design industry.
Amy Vilz, Getty Project archivist for the Will Burtin Collection, writes: “Burtin’s ability to distill complex information into simple, easy-to-digest designs, makes his work distinct and refreshing. He is best known for his large-scale exhibits that invited the viewer to enter the piece, enveloping visitors within the size of the construction and the scope of the content.”
Burtin worked for 22 years for the Upjohn Co., a giant in the pharmaceutical world, as a design consultant and art director. He was also a tenured art director at Fortune magazine (1945-1949), where his seemingly effortless illustrative layouts refined complicated information into comprehensive visual terms.
The RIT Graphic Design Archives Chapbook Series commemorates the accomplishments of important figures in the history of design whose work is collected at the university. RIT’s collection includes the work of 17 designers from the 20th century. The comprehensive collection of personal papers, business records and artwork by Lester Beall, Will Burtin, George Giusti and Cipe Pineles form the cornerstones of the archive. Will Burtin: The Display of Visual Knowledge follows two previous chapbooks: Lester Beall: Space, Time & Content and Cipe Pineles: Two Remembrances.
Remington worked closely with Bruce Meader, professor of graphic design in RIT’s School of Design, in the layout and design of the book. Remington is the author of the first chapbook about Beall. He also wrote American Modernism: Graphic Design, 1920 to 1960 and co-authored Design and Science – The Life and Career of Will Burtin, with Robert S.P. Fripp.
The Burtin chapbook is a laminated paperback featuring 40 pages of color illustrations and is priced at $15.99. The first three books in the series are available as a set for $39.99. Orders can be placed at http://carypress.rit.edu or by calling (585) 475-6766.
RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press is the publication branch of the Melbert B. Cary Jr. Graphics Arts Collection at Rochester Institute of Technology, a renowned resource for those studying printing history, bookbinding, typography, papermaking, calligraphy, and book illustration process.
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