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Isotype (pictograms)

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In graphic design and sociology, Isotype (possibly an acronym for International System of Typographic Picture Education) is a system of pictograms designed by the Austrian educator and philosopher Otto Neurath and the illustrator Gerd Arntz to communicate information in a simple, non-linguistic way. Neurath originally intended Isotype to be used by educators of young children, but it wound up instead heavily influencing modern public signage and information graphics. Visually, it owes a lot to a clean-lines, 1920s realist/art deco aesthetic. In 'a picture speaks a thousand words' kind of a way, Isotype was developed as a way of conveying quantitative information with social consequences — the availability of bread and sugar, the manpower involved in constructing automobiles, in different countries. Isotype may have some common ground in intentions with Buckminster Fuller's Geoscope.

Neurath founded the Isotype Institute with his spouse Marie Reidemeister.

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