Beyond the printed page, Burtin also designed captivating and popular multi-media exhibitions. The 1958 traveling exhibition he called “The Cell” drew 10 million visitors. “We take it for granted today that graphic designers can be multidisciplinary, but when Burtin did it, it was revolutionary,” says Shaughnessy.

Ten million Americans visited “The Cell.”
Ten million Americans visited “The Cell.”
Image: Courtesy of Unit Editions

Shaughnessy argues that Burtin’s work is especially worth studying today amid the immense technological and bureaucratic complexity that rule our lives. “I’d love to see him address the question of the internet, and how we handle information in the digital era,” says Shaughnessy. “His ability to turn technical details into accessible but always elegant visual material is as relevant today as it was in the sixties.”

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