Neurath & Arntz

In the 1930’s, Otto Neurath and Gerd Arntz developed the International System Of TYpographic Picture Education, or ISOTYPE.

Neurath, a social scientist and philosopher, saw an illiterate proletariat struggling to fully participate in civic life, politically and economically. He conceived of the ISOTYPE as a way to convey information to illiterate or barely literate adults, giving them the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions.

In Arntz, Neurath found a designer with the talent and sensibility to express complex ideas through simple pictograms. In addition to pioneering the restrained aesthetic of infographics, both men were rigorously faithful to the accurate display of information and statistics. The degree to which their work still permeates society, particularly in wayfinding, speaks to the brilliance of the design in idea and execution. Seen in transit systems, maps and museums, many symbols are now truly universal.