Tag Archives: Otto Neurath

Historical Context (Pictograms)

In the 1920’s Otto Neurath has developed series of Isotypes to be used as a universal language. Otl Aicher on the other hand is well known for his various disciplinary sports pictograms that he created for the 1972 Munich Olympics. Pictograms are an effective means to convey information visually. This form of communication would be used in the design of my artefact on Diabetes as I want to convey information in a more visual manner.

Otto Neurath’s Isotypes


Available at http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=2517

Otto Neurath, an Austrian sociologist and political economist developed a series of Isotypes to be used as a visual communication system. The Isotypes were designed in the most simple way eliminating details such as colour and perspective.

Otl Aicher’s 1972 Munich Olympics. Pictograms


Available at http://www.uigarden.net/english/infographics-being-and-doing-part-i

Otl Aicher’s pictograms for the 1972 Munich Olympics were created to show various soprts disciplines visually. It was used in the Olympic village to indicate the way for athletes and visitors transcending the language barrier. It was created using a grid system. This kind of pictogram has been then used to develop public signs that are used nowadays.


Bierut, Michael (2004) The Graphic Design Olympics. Available at http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=2517 [Accessed on 14 November 2012]

Popova, Maria (2011) Vintage Visual Language: The Story of Isotype. Available at http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/03/08/the-transformer-isotype/ [Accessed 13 November 2012]

Popovic, John Jan (2010) Olympic Games Pictograms. Available at http://1stmuse.com/pictograms/ [Accessed on 14 November 2012

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Annotated Bibliography – Information Design

Here are some canonical texts and articles that I have included for my SAT1 study related to information design. The have helped me to deepen my knowledge in information design and on pictograms.

Tufte, Edward (2007) The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Connecticut: Graphics press.

This book concerns the visual display of statistical information. It contains theory, practice and in depth analysis to achieve precise, effective and quick analysis supported with numerous illustrations showing the best and few worst statistical graphics. I am interested in the part where the author explains on the maximization of data density with justification and showing the end points of data range. Edward Tufte is a statistician and professor emeritus of political science, statistics, and computer science at Yale University. He is noted for his writings on information design and as a pioneer in the field of data visualization. He has written other influential texts such as envisioning information, beautiful evidence among others.

Patton, Phil (2009) ‘Neurath, Bliss and the language of the pictogram,’ AIGA, http://www.aiga.org/neurath-bliss-and-the-language-of-the-pictogram/ (visited 18/10/2012)

Phil Patton explains in this article how Neurath and Bliss use isotypes to achieve a picture language system to overcome the language barrier. Neurath is known as the forefather of pictograms which are commonly used in airports and other public places. He is also known for a pedagogical museum in Vienna by using pictorial charts and his simplified graphic style showing social and economic trends. Bliss has the same ambition as Neurath but developed grammar which can produces sentences. This method of communication without using words can be applied in many other fields. Phil Patton has written many books on the automotive industry and he also teaches the MFA design criticism.

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