Visualizing Social Facts: Otto Neurath's ISOTYPE Project

Hartmann, Frank GND

A pioneer in many respects, Otto Neurath made contributions in the areas of socialist politics, political economy, the theory of science, sociology and social philosophy. However, especially innovative were his revolutionary ideas about communication based on investigating the role of media in the making of modern man – as social technology for achieving socialist objectives. Within the context of his "Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung" (Scientific Conception of the World – The Vienna Circle) he claimed a new form of encyclopedic integration of knowledge. Insisting on the need for for absolute clarity of expression, he developed a new form of scientific expression to help achieve this, an "International Picture Language". It was based on a new pictographic design system: ISOTYPE, an acronym for "International System Of Typographic Picture Education".

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