Will Burtin: neglected giant of information design

I learned about Will Burtin’s work through R. Roger Remington and Fripp’s book a few years ago, but it was love at first sight. The combination of Burtin’s thinking process, ingenuity and direct relevance to what today we referred to as information design was astounding. Furthermore, there is a strong parallelism between the type of challenges that Burtin dealt with and today’s information design work, but the big difference is that we now have tools, history and a more focused preparation to do this type of job.

Burtin’s scientific approach to design gives him a revolutionary place in design history, although his work doesn’t always have the same level of recognition as other names in the field. Burtin was a real pioneer in many ways; these are just a few:

  1. Communication of complex information from scientific, medical, to military concepts.
  2. Mind set. Process and understanding came first.
  3. Think big. He didn’t constraint his work to a medium or format. Rather, he looked for the right medium and format to help him communicate the message in the clearest way possible.

Short after learning about his work, I started working with R. Roger Remington on a second book about Will Burtin. This time the challenge was to show Burtin’s connection and relevance to today’s information design, and also showcase his way of working.

Finally, this video is a small window into this new book and his work:

What will you get from this book?

  • A retrospective of Will burtin’s work and how it contributes to the current practice of information design, including unpublished projects.
  • Theories and principles that were practiced 60-70, 80 years ago but that are very much still relevant.
  • Through Burtin’s work, you will learn how to address similar challenges that you may be struggling with today.

Who is this book aimed at?

  • Students
  • Designers
  • Scientists
  • Educators
  • And anyone interested in learning how to approach the communication of complexity!!


Remington R.R. & Pontis, S. Will Burtin. Pioneer of Information Design. Journey to Understanding. Unit Editions.

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