Will Burtin was born in Cologne, Germany on January 17, 1930. He studied typography at Handwerkskammer in Cologne and in the same time he did apprenticeship in typesetting studio of Dr. Philippe Knoll. After graduation he studied at the Kölner Werkschulen majoring in graphic and industrial design in 1926.
Willi Burtin opened a design studio in Cologne in 1927 designing booklets, posters, exhibitions, advertising and movies in German and French. His work got attention by Adolf Hitler and was offered to work as Progpaganda Ministry’s design director. Instead of accepting the offer, he and his Jewish wife escaped from German to USA in 1939.
in 1943, Burtin was drafted in the U.S Army and assigned to the Office of Strategic Services. He created a gunner manual for the U.S Air Force B-29 crews and visual presentation of strategies and other material for the OSS. At the end of the World War II, he became a freelance designer and teacher. He was hired as an Art Director in Fortune magazine from 1945 – - 1949 where he was worked with other influence designers such as Lester Beall, Alvin Lustig, Gyorgy Kepes and Arthur Lidov to help the design process.
in 1949, he established his own studio in New York City – Will Burtin, Inc until the end of his life in January 1972. Will Burtin pioneered the fields of scientific visualization, information design, corporate identity and multimedia (he called it ‘Integration’). He earned the medal of the American Institute of Graphic Arts which honored him recognition of their exceptional achievements.