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Isotype: representing social facts pictorially

Burke, C. ORCID: (2009) Isotype: representing social facts pictorially. Information Design Journal, 17 (3). pp. 211-223. ISSN 0142-5471

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To link to this item 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.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Typography & Graphic Communication
ID Code:16340
Uncontrolled Keywords:Isotype, Otto Neurath, pictograms, symbols, transformer, visual communication, graphic design, Red Vienna, decision making, economics
Publisher:John Benjamins


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