1900 - 1982
In 1933 George Him and Jan Lewitt set up the Lewitt-Him design partnership in Warsaw,
moving to London in 1937. By January 1955 the partnership had ended, with George Him
continuing to work on his own as a graphic designer, and Jan Lewitt turning to fine art.
George Him was born in Lodz Poland.
Educated in Warsaw, Bonn and Leipzig,
In 1917 Him had gone to Moscow to study Law, witnessed
the Russian Revolution and returned to Warsaw when the
authorities closed down the law faculty. He then went to
Bonn where he obtained a PhD in comparative history of religions,
before following his true vocation as an artist, enrolling
himself in the Leipzig Academy for Graphic Art and Book Industry.
A practising graphic designer* since 1922,
first in Germany, then in Poland and since 1937, in London.
He collaborated with Jan Le Witt from 1933 to 1954. This fruitful
partnership was known as Lewitt - Him.
Due to a fortunate commission by Lund Humphries in 1937,
George Him and Jan Lewitt found themselves in London prior
to the commencement of war. They settled here and soon found
that they were amongst a growing number of talented artistic emigres.
He continued his practise as free-lance designer
and design consultant, active in all fields of graphic design.
publicity, exhibitions, corporate identity, book design etc.
During the Second World War Him worked for the MoI, Post Office,
Ministry of Food and others; also for the Polish and Dutch
Governments in exile, producing mainly posters. After the war, he
contributed to the 'Britain can make it' exhibition (1946) and the
'Festival of Britain' (1951) (murals for the Education Pavilion,
Festival Clock in Battersea Park).
His work in the field of publicity included campaigns
for American Overseas Airlines and the exploration of the
fabulous 'County of Schweppshire' for Schweppes, collaborating
with the infamous Stephen Potter - a campaign which ran for
some 15 years during the 1950's and '60's in the British periodicals.
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, he was active
on a variety of projects connected with Israel and the Jews. Him
designed the Warsaw Ghetto Exhibition which was shown
twice in London and, later, in Frankfurt.
He designed and conceived the Masada Exhibition for the Observer,
shown at the Festival Hall in 1966. This exhibition has later toured
the United States, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Sweden
and Switzerland. It was last presented at the Israel Museum in
Jerusalem and was seen altogether by some 750,000 people.
His script for the Israel Pavilion at the expo in Brussels was
published in booklet form and translated into a variety of languages,
including Russian and Twi ( the language of Ghana). He was also
the Chief Designer of the Israel Pavilion in Montreal, and design
consultant for El Al Israel Airlines.
In later years (1960's/70) he contributed cover designs of a political nature
to the monthly 'The New Middle East'.
Him also embraced the new technologies and greatly enjoyed working
in the field of television graphics. His first book to be televised was the
Giant Alexander, which sold 600,000 copies worldwide.
Him illustrated a great number of books, both for adults and children,
published in Britain and the United States.
He was Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design at Leicester Polytechnic
and was elected RDI in 1977.
These biographical details are taken from an exhibition held in his honour
in 1976 at London College of Printing (now London College of Communication,
University of the Arts ), at the invitation of his contemporary Tom Eckersley.
George Him's modest response to his renown is summed up in his words...
'this is what the record says, but it is not for me to judge whether all
the above has any importance at all.
I belong, I suppose, to the leading graphic artists of my generation, and
my name was internationally known in the days when individuality in
graphic design was valued - an attitude by now long forgotten.
All that is left for me today - apart from carrying on with my work, -
is to preach the old gospel of design based on art, and not on
market research, to the growing generations of students.'
to view examples of George Him's work, please click on the following links...
County of Schweppshire
drawings from family sketchbook of seaside holidays in the Baltic
work from the 1930's - Lewitt-Him
1940's including WW2 posters
the Polish cause
American Overseas Airlines - 1940's
1950's advertising campaigns
1951 Festival of Britain
animated films for Halas & Batchelor (1950's)
bibliography of illustrated books
1952 Israel sketchbook
The Times - 1960's
Warsaw Ghetto Exhibition 1961
Masada Exhibition 1966
El Al airlines - 1960's & 1970's
television graphics - 1970's
for more information email
* The first use of the term 'graphic designer' is contested. There is no doubt that someone like Kauffer considered
himself a graphic designer although the term hardly existed before WW2. Most people working in the 1950s
were known as commercial artists, typographers or poster designers. I would say that it doesn't really apply
to anyone before, say, Paul Rand in the 1960's.
Dr Paul Rennie
Jan Le Witt George Him DESIGN
available from amazon
NB. George Him's work remains in copyright.
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