Erik Nitsche

Born in Switzerland in 1908, Erik Nitsche was a graphic designer known for his innovative work in book design, illustration, and typography. Nitsche studied at the Collège Classique in Switzerland and the Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich before immigrating to the United States in 1934. He designed a number of covers for avant-garde and multilingual cultural publications in Europe as well as illustrations and covers for major American magazines such as Life, Town and Country, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair. Nitsche also developed advertising and promotional campaigns for the cinema giant Twentieth Century Fox and the New York Transit Authority, and produced more than 200 album covers for Decca Records. Nitsche may be best known for his historic relationship with General Dynamics, whose innovative graphic identity and information graphics he produced in the 1950s. He was also responsible for more than 2,000 color illustrations reproduced in the five-volume encyclopedia L’Épopée Nationale d’un Siècle. Nitsche continued to work actively in design until his death in 1998.

Works associated with this person or group

  • Textile, Ditto, 1952

    Length of printed cotton with broad horizontal bands resembling tubes, due to illusionistic shading from black to white and back, achieved by the artful arrangement of oval dots of varying…

  • Poster, General Dynamics, 1956

    Poster depicts a bright white circle containing a red circle on a ground of gray; above white constellations and below, wavy black lines; lower margin: GENERAL DYNAMICS.

  • Poster, Sandmarg, General Dynamics, 1957

    Poster depicts white abstract jellyfish form on a ground of blocks of greens, blues, and grays; a white line crosses the jellyfish from the top to the bottom. Below, in…

  • Poster, Atoms for Peace, General Dynamics, 1955

    Poster depicts a globe from the top on a dark gray ground, surmounted by a light bulb; lower margin: GENERAL DYNAMICS.

  • Poster, L’Atome au Service de la Paix, General Dynamics, 1955

    Poster depicts a nautilus shell with a submarine and a globe; upper margin: USS Nautlus; lower margin: GENERAL DYNAMICS.

  • Poster, Atoms for Peace, General Dynamics, 1955

    Poster depicts a triangle made up of colored blocks with a black circle at the top with atomic symbol; above: atoms for peace; lower margin: GENERAL DYNAMICS.

  • Poster, Atoms for Peace, General Dynamics, 1955

    Poster depicts several overlapping circles in black, brown, and gray; and a plane flying through them. Above, text in Russian; center: astrodynamics; lower margin: GENERAL DYNAMICS.

  • Poster, Atome im Dienste des Friedens, General Dynamics, 1955

    Poster depicts a black outlined and silhouetted world map on a red ground; one yellow horizontal and white vertical line cross the globe; silhouette of an airplane at each end.…

  • Poster, Medical Gases, General Dynamics, 1960

    Poster depicts a spiral turning from fuzzy gray to clearer blue and then at the center bold black. Upper left: medical gases; Lower margin: GENERAL DYNAMICS; lower right margin: LIQUID…

  • Poster, Exploring the Universe, Sub-Atomic worlds, General Dynamics, ca. 1955

    Poster depicts what looks like a black paint splatter in a crisscrossing pattern on beige and tan ground. Upper right: exploring the universe; lower margin: GENERAL DYNAMICS.