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Which clippings match 'Atlas' keyword pg.1 of 1
21 MARCH 2011

ISOTYPE: International System of TYpographic Picture Education

"Pictures had been used for the purpose of conveying information long before the development of Isotype. Picture language preceded the evolution of writing and a number of societies developed their own sets of rules in order to aid communication through pictures. Since the evolution of alphabetic writing in the western world pictures have, generally speaking, played a subordinate role to writing as far as communicating information is concerned. It is true that until the middle of the nineteenth century paintings usually told a story of some kind and relied on conventions of symbolism, composition, gesture and facial expression to convey their meaning; but there were few attempts to build up comprehensive picture languages before the present century. Comenius was not concerned with the structure of pictorial language, and even William Playfair, who developed a visual approach to the representation of quantities in the late eighteenth century which he called 'lineal arithmetic', does not appear to have adopted any firm conventions of treatment. Similarly, the numerous nineteenth– and early twentieth–century designers who presented statistics and other information through pictures appear not to have considered the need to work out overall approaches. By the end of the nineteenth century many novel approaches had been adopted in the field of picture language but, in general, it was as chaotic as written language was in pre–classical times when early Greek and Latin characters assumed a variety of orientations and the direction of reading and writing were not fixed.

The real significance of Otto Neurath's contribution in the field of picture language is that he saw the need to establish a set of conventions in order to make communication easier and more effective. These conventions were developed over a number of years and were only settled upon after being tested thoroughly through use. However, two basic rules were formulated almost from the beginning of the Isotype Movement. The first of these related to the presentation of statistics by means of pictures and held that a sign should be used to represent a certain amount of things and a greater number of such signs a greater amount of things. The second was a general rule that perspective should not be used. Perspective involves making objects of the same size smaller or larger according to their distance from the viewer, which means that they cannot easily be quantified; when something needed to be shown in three dimensions the Isotype team used models or isometric drawings. In accepting these two basic rules Otto Neurath was returning to the conventions of some of the earliest formalised systems of communication, and particularly to Egyptian wall painting and hieroglyphs which had influenced him profoundly. Thereafter a number of other rules and conventions were established by Otto Neurath and his team. They are described briefly in the section of the catalogue called 'Principles of Isotype', and in more detail by Otto Neurath in his book International picture language."

(Michael Twyman, 1975)

Fig.1 Chart of motor vehicles in the United States and abroad. From Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft, 1930 (courtesy MAK Center).

2). Michael Twyman (1975). 'The significance of Isotype'

3). Otto Neurath (1930). 'Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft – Bildatlas'



1925atlascartographychartconventionsdesign formalismdesign historydiagram • Gerd Arntz • Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft • graphic communicationhieroglyphsillustrationinformationinformation aestheticsinformation graphics • international picture language • International System of TYpographic Picture Education • ISOTYPE • IZOSTAT • lineal arithmetic • map • Marie Neurath • Marie Reidemeister • notationOtto Neurath • Paul Rotha • pictogrampictorial languagepictorial statisticspicture languagerepresentation • Soviet Institute of Pictorial Statistics • statisticssymbolismtwentieth-century designVictoria and Albert MuseumVienna Methodvisual approachvisual communicationvisual education • visual science • William Playfair


Simon Perkins
12 JULY 2009

Interactive Atlas of Early European Printing

"The Atlas of Early Printing is an interactive site designed to be used as a tool for teaching the early history of printing in Europe during the second half of the fifteenth century. While printing in Asia pre–dates European activity by several hundred years, the rapid expansion of the trade following the discovery of printing in Mainz, Germany around the middle of the fifteenth century is a topic of great importance to the history of European civilization. This website uses Flash to depict the spread of European printing in a manner that allows a user to control dates and other variables.

The inspiration for the site comes from the maps of printing's spread found in Berry and Poole's 1966 book The Annals of Printing, and the well–known maps in Febvre and Martin's L'apparition du livre (The Coming of the Book) from 1958. These sources, and others such as Robert Teichl's map Die Wiegendruck in Kartenbild, depict the spread of printing in Europe largely through a decade by decade progression. The aim of the Atlas of Early Printing is to take this type of information and allow it to be manipulated, while also providing contextual information that visually represents the cultural situation from which printing emerged. Layers can be turned on and off to build a detailed atlas of the culture and commerce of Europe as masters and journeymen printers ventured to new towns and markets seeking support and material for the new art of printing."
(Greg Prickman, Project Manager, University Of Iowa Libraries)



AsiaatlasauthorshipchartchronologydiagramEurope • fifteenth century • information graphicsinteractiveprintprintingprinting presstimelinevisualisation


Simon Perkins
12 APRIL 2005

Mnemosyne-Atlas: Visual Clustering Through Good Company

"[Aby Warburg's Mnemosyne–Atlas] is fundamentally [an] attempt to combine the philosophical with the image–historical approach [of information organisation]. Attached on wooden boards covered with black cloth are photographs of images, reproductions from books, and visual materials from newspapers and/or daily life, which Warburg arranges in such a way that they illustrate one or several thematic areas. ... [Images in the atlas are] not ordered according to visual similarity, evident in the sense of an iconographic history of style; but rather through relationships caused by an affinity for one another and the principle of good company, which let themselves be reconstructed through the study of texts."
(Rudolf Frieling, Media Art Net)



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