Isotype: representing social facts pictorially
Burke, C. (2009) Isotype: representing social facts pictorially. Information Design Journal, 17 (3). pp. 211-223. ISSN 0142-5471
To link to this article DOI: 10.1075/idj.17.3.06bur
In developing Isotype, Otto Neurath and his colleagues were the first to systematically explore a consistent visual language as part of an encyclopedic approach to representing all aspects of the physical world. The pictograms used in Isotype have a secure legacy in today's public information symbols, but Isotype was more than this: it was designed to communicate social facts memorably to less educated groups, including schoolchildren and workers, reflecting its initial testing ground in the socialist municipality of Vienna during the 1920s. The social engagement and methodology of Isotype are examined here in order to draw some lessons for information design today.