A pioneer of the field of information design, Will Burtin is known for traversing several fields of design including information design, magazine design and exhibition design. Having a formal education in typesetting, Burtin started a design studio in Germany in 1927. By 1938 he had clients all over Europe but was forced to flee the country because his wife was Jewish and also because he was unwilling to work for the Nazi party. Drafted into the US Army in 1943, he designed manuals and instructional pamphlets as reference material for soldiers. After the war he taught for a short while and then became art director of Fortune Magazine from 1945-49.
In 1949 he started his own design studio where he worked for a variety of clients including The Upjohn Company. At Upjohn, a pharmaceutical company, he designed packaging, advertising and their trade publication, Scope. He was so successful that they allowed him the creative latitude to explore the presentation of several scientific subjects such as human blood cells and the brain as 3-dimensional exhibitions. At scales of up to 1,000,00:1 these exhibitions were impressive and became some of his most well recognized work.