Otto Neurath

From Hieroglyphics to Isotype. A Visual Autobiography

From Hieroglyphics to Isotype. A Visual Autobiography
Otto Neurath (Austria)
Book (London: Hyphen Press)

The term Isotype (International System of Typographic Picture Education) has been associated with the visualization of facts and information as well as the display of social, technological, biological, and historical connections in pictorial form. In 1934, Otto Neurath set up the Gesellschafts und Wirtschaftsmuseum (Social and Economic Museum) in Vienna, intended to inform the public about social and economic issues of the day, and within this environment Neurath developed the Isotype, which was first outlined in the book Bildstatistik nach Wiener Methode in der Schule (Application of the Vienna Method of Pictorial Statistics in School). The Isotype consists of a range of standardized and abstracted symbols to visualize data. Neurath stated "pictures make connection, words make division," with which he emphasized the importance of picture language. Neurath worked tirelessly on a visual autobiography, and sixty years later From Hieroglyphics to Isotype finally documents Neurath's personal history with visual material, spanning from his early years to his most profound involvement with Isotype in his later profession.