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ISOTYPE


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(International System of Typographic Picture Education)

ISOTYPE was devised as a way of conveying statistics by means of visual symbols. It was an important aspect of an international graphic language first devised by Otto Neurath (1882–1945) in Vienna after the First World War. Originally called the Vienna Method of Pictorial Statistics, ISOTYPE was intended to aid the public understanding of complex statistical information relating to housing, health, education, and other key priorities in the difficult economic and political circumstances of 1920s Vienna by presenting the information in a visually intelligible format. The statistics were converted into visual forms by what was termed the Transformation Team led by Marie Reidemeister (1898–1986) Neurath's future wife. Neurath put the work on an international footing by establishing links with organizations in London, New York, and Amsterdam. In the face of adverse circumstances in Vienna, he and his colleagues moved to The Hague in 1934, changing the name of their method from the Wiener Methode der Bildstatistik to ISOTYPE in the following year. The German invasion of Holland forced them to move to Britain in 1940 where they established the Isotype Institute in Oxford in 1942. Under Marie Reidemeister's direction following her husband's death in 1945 the Institute moved to London in 1948, where it remained until 1972 when it closed. The Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype Collection is housed at Reading University.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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