István Irsai was born in 1896 in Budapest, Hungary. He learned how to play the violin as a child. He served in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War He subsequently studied architecture at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.
Irsai started his career as an architect and graphic designer in Budapest.[2] He lived in Mandate Palestine from 1925 to 1929, when he designed the Hebrew font Haim.[1] During that time, he also designed stage sets in theatres as well as houses in the Bauhaus architectural style.[2] He returned to Hungary in 1929, where he worked as a graphic designer until 1944.
Irsai was deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1944, but he managed to escape on the Kastner train.[1][2] He emigrated to Israel, where he was a graphic designer.[1][2] He designed posters for Modiano and Tungsram, among other companies.[2] He also designed Zionist-themed posters to promote the state of Israel.

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