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ISOTYPES

INFLUENCE











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1968 MEXICO OLYMPIC
GAMES


. . . . . and London will
have their own this year
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In one sense the influence of the Isotype Movement has been wide and can be
seen today by anyone who travels, reads newspapers  and magazines, looks
at television, or is familiar with the kind of work done by children in schools.
Some of the methods of graphic  communication developed by the Isotype
Movement are now accepted as part of the currency of graphic language,
though they are rarely used as sensitively or intelligently as they were by Otto
Neurath and his team. There are also a number of bodies still active  today
which stem directly from the Isotype Movement. But for all the general influence
it has undoubtedly had, the pioneer work done by Otto Neurath and his team
in Vienna in the 1920s has for the most part been forgotten.

Those who have heard of the Isotype Movement usually know its work in the
field of international symbols. But though the  International Organization for
Standardization has been concerned in recent years with rationalising symbols
for international use, in  general,
the essential message of the
Movement that there should be standard ways of
representing things has been ignored. What  can be
more irresponsible in this context than the re-design
every four years of a new set of symbols for the
Olympic Games?
SEE BELOW


Some  designers cannot resist inventing new symbols; and in recent years the
need for a clearly understood graphic language which is retained and
reinforced through learning from one Games to the next has been ignored
because of national pride and design arrogance.

The lasting influence of the Isotype Movement is probably seen most clearly in
the field of graphic statistics. During and immediately after the Second World
War statistics were quite frequently presented in the form of Isotype charts;
and in more recent years new approaches to teaching and learning and the
increasing use of visual media generally have been responsible for a revival of
interest in graphic statistics.