Hail the Father of Symbol Signs

Various books have been published about the father of the ISOTYPE (International System of Typographic Picture Education), Otto Neurath, but none more comprehensive than Otto Neurath: The Language of Global Polis (NAi Publishers).

Neurath (and his followers, including Rudolf Modley and Gerd Arntz) were responsible for what we now call pictograpms or “symbol signs” including the ubiquitous Department of Transportation symbols developed in conjunction with the AIGA.

Neurath’s creation, invented to illustrate, quantify, and illuminate world issues, as well as provide a universal visual language for peoples throughout the world, was revived in the 1970s by, among others, Nigel Holmes, and evolved into what is currently called “Information Graphics.”

This book, profusely illustrated with sketches and printed artifacts, examines the significance of Neurath’s scientific design process and its impact on the global language.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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