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Universal language of pictorial icons


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The history of pictorial chart goes hand in hand with evolution of humanity. The “graphic narrative”, as Willard Cope Brinton calls it in his book “Graphic Presentation” (1939) was there since the Stone Age. Ideographic drawings, pictograms, figurative symbols, pictographic charts and hieroglyphs all serve to tell stories in universal graphical language. The idea of universal language of pictorials was best developed by an Austrian social scientist Otto Neurath and a German designer Gerd Arntz in late 1920'. At the time Neurath had developed a method to communicate complex information on society, economy and politics in simple images and he needed designer who could make elementary signs, pictograms that could summarize a subject at a glance. Arntz was socially inspired and politically committed artist who depicted the life of workers and the class struggle in abstracted figures on woodcuts. Both were the perfect fit to develop an ISOTYPE (International System Of TYpographic Picture Education) - a set of 4000 pictograms that tell it all.

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Universal language of pictorial icons

  1. 1. ISOTYPE, International System Of TYpographic Picture Universal language of pictograms Gerd Arntz (1900-1988) Otto Neurath (1882 - 1945)
  2. 2. The impact of working class grows, but the literacy level is low
  3. 3. Need for universal language that explains social matters
  4. 4. Going back from abstraction to familiar forms
  5. 5. Universal language of visual narratives
  6. 6. The technology Gerd Arntz draws the Isotype symbol for ‘unemployed’. Then the symbol is cut from linoleum and printed.
  7. 7. The birth of “infographics”
  8. 8. How many times more? Human brain is pore in size comparison
  9. 9. How many times more?
  10. 10. Рубакин, Н. (1912) «Россия в цифрах. Страна. Народ. Сословия. Классы» But it works for showing dramatic inequalities
  11. 11. Automobile Facts v.s
  12. 12. Rubakin v.s
  13. 13. ISOTYPE v.s
  14. 14. References ❖ Neurath, O. (1936) ISOTYPE ❖ Brinton, W. (1939) Graphic Presentation ❖ Рубакин, Н. (1912) «Россия в цифрах. Страна. Народ. Сословия. Классы» ❖
  15. 15. Thanks!