Neurath, the Isotype and the third competence GIOVANNI ANCESCHI
hen describing the construction of the Isotype, on a historical and even anecdotic level, Neurath underlined the fact that it was a work-based process. A productive itinerary which was to involve many protagonists . Its work required the presence of the expert, the scientist, who is responsible for scientific correctness, and also involved the graphic designer or illustrator. Yet the collaboration between scientists and designers is not sufficient. “However – Neurath said – the translation of scientific phrases into images is often a complex task and is neither the scientist’s nor the designer’s work”. A “specialist” is required . “This first step, from scientific formulations to images, has a specific name: transformation” . This third specialist , the transformer (who occupies the role Albe Steiner intended when he added the term ‘editor’ to the expression ‘graphic designer’ ), is responsible for the relations between what needs to be said and how to say it. In other words, he is the specialist of the Aufklärung, the German word for Enlightenment, which in common language means ‘to explain’, ‘clarify’. Thus, if the scientific expert remains the guardian of the ever problematic nature of scientific contents, and of the precision of their formulations, and if the graphic designer is the specialist with regards to communicative efficacy and immediateness, the expert is the one who pilots the spectator’s attention in the right direction ; the transformer (it would be reductive to call him visualizer), is the person capable of inventing figurative formations, schemes, appropriate iconic units and metaphors that are pertinent to the content. In one word he is the visual pedagogue.The one who controls the aufklärerisch finalization (both enlightened and enlightening), both popular and democratic, of the contents. The figure responsible for interpretative immediateness , and for the overall achievement of communicative efficacy is – instead – the graphic designer-illustrator . In other words, even when the graphic representation of statistic measures and of relations between quantities has been freed from all mistakes (by the transformation process), it is still far from being packend (engrossing) . To obtain this goal the “means used by a good painter of posters” are required .
All this contributes to the ‘optic stimuli’  of what Neurath prophetically called the “age of the eye”  or, even more acutely, of the Be-sehen (the active seeing, the Latin spectare) ; in other words, “if we are to reach a user who is spoiled by cinema and illustration, we must follow the path shown to us by the poster”. By presenting a daring yet certainly brilliant equalization between the formative nature of scholastic communication and the persuasive nature of advertising , Neurath stated: “If statistics must have an educative or promotional nature, we need to work on the most known medium for propaganda and teaching, the image. Just as products can be promoted by a good réclame, and this promotion is how the user learns about the product, in the same way statistics should gain a figural form as well” . Naturally this is not a question of mechanically importing the methods of poster designers; it is necessary to work on the development of a complex and laborious research, consisting of continuous proposals and variations . Indeed: “The Viennese method of pedagogy by images has often been compared to the methods of modern illustrated réclames. Yet this comparison has its limits” . “Each image of advertising is in competition with all other advertisement images and in a certain sense wants to cancel them all from the spectator’s memory. […] Those who use advertisement images or models want to be as singular as possible” . Things are different with statistic figurations, which, if different from each other, are “chapters of a single vast encyclopaedia, which can be understood in every country”. Thus, when put together, the semantics expert and the pragmatic expert, or rather the meaning expert and the communication expert , i.e. the transformer and the graphic designer, practice a propositional, inventive and creative activity. After all, if on one hand pedagogy itself was considered an art by Neurath, on the other hand, likewise (and thus far from believing in the postulation of constantly valid formulas), he was convinced that communication should remain a task to be managed by the capacity of the designer . Thus the procedure of design (transformation + graphic design), produces concrete series of services and results, in the form of graphic material, photographs and three-dimensional models which range from iconographic supports to supports for scholastic lessons, from the setup of showcases and front windows to images for newspapers, from the packaging of paperbacks (for example
photographic ones) to the layout for exhibitions, to the realization of documentaries and educational films . The Isotype system developed and progressively affirmed itself precisely in the production of these materials: as a vocabulary, a grammar and a style. Thus first of all as a totality of visual units , secondly as a repertoire of rules or conventions and of the modalities for their disposition, composition, aggregation, etc., yet also, ultimately, as the coherence of all the wholes, perceptively characterizing and quantitatively characterized, what Neurath intended with the word ‘style’. Thomas Rurik summarized the design rules of the system of “figural nouns” (Sachbilder) as follows: “1. clean-cut borders; 2. substitution of reliefs with flatness and of movement with stillness; 3. orthogonal projections vs. perspectival rendition; 4. usually black and white presentation ; 5. use of fonts from the Grotesk family (for example Futura by Paul Renner); 6. hierarchization of objects through their presentation in flat tones or with regards to linear borders; 7. definition of the minimum dimensions of the pictograms; 8. priority use of the rectangle as format of the pictograms; 9. linear modality of the representation” . Although born as a collateral product of a practical activity, the systematic and universal nature of the Isotype tended to impose itself autonomously, thus anticipating a certain type of organizational and research-based efforts which would later concretize as international institutions for norm building . Neurath underlined the need for an international Sachschrift (literally the ‘writing of things’) , and supported the need for a unitary global approach to these problems, anticipated by the adoption of Isostat by the Soviet . Neurath specified that “signs must be clear in themselves, with no aid from words: they must indeed be talking signs (sprechende Bilder)” . He claimed that “these figural and mnemonic nouns, with their talking signs, are independent from linguistic borders. They are international from the beginning” . He also took a position with regards to the scarce interest for social themes demonstrated not only by the ‘maestros’ of the réclame , but even by specific institutions . Plus he signalled the lack of official recognition for some Russian designers who attempted the path of simplified graphic forms . In other words, by analyzing specific themes of cultural organization and politics, Neurath addressed the question of graphic standards. Or, to put it differently, of the elaboration of elements and rules which would later serve
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Interior of the Wirtshaft-und Gesellshaft Museum with panels from a didactic exhibition.
for the production of final results. Above all he reflected upon their universalization . Indeed, this push towards universalization does not enjoy a generically cosmopolitan nature, in the sense of the cosmopolitism of the early twentieth century cultural elite. According to Neurath every intellectual thrust, every cultural orientation is bound to a profoundly social and directly political commitment. And each move contributes to carry forth the project of its historical-social conception of the scientific enterprise . In his view, indeed, every cognitive activity and, obviously, every project-based effort, refer to the solution of vital questions (Lebensfragen); more specifically “the implicit objective and motivating intention of epistemological research are the problems of a new economic and social organization, of a reformation of education and schools and of the unification of humanity” . As we know, Neurath was a key figure in the foundation of the Viennese philosophical circle: alongside Carnap and Hahn, he formulated its manifesto, its common platform, in 1929, yet at the same time, alongside Carnap alone, he represented its more anti-militaristic and cosmopolitan fringe. For example, he published some of the most acute criticisms regarding the development of the epistemological enterprise of the Viennese circle, first in the political periodical “Der Kampf” and later in the disciplinary periodical “Erkenntnis”.
The Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum During his spell as director of the museum, since 1925, Neurath translated his philosophical-didactic convictions into action. An excellent organizer, he worked on putting together different yet complementary professional figures, and chose qualifie and very motivated people. Much of the success of the ‘Isotype method’, still in vogue today, depended on the enthusiasm and team spirit of this group, which included Marie Reidemeister – who translated data into figural indications – and painter-graphic designer Gerd Arntz, who was in charge of the design.
A flyer of the museum.
In 1919 Neurath was initially the director of the Central planning office of the Munich Social-democratic government; later, following dramatic vicissitudes which led him to imprisonment for high treason, he took on the same position in the Spartacist Bavarian Republic, which would be repressed in bloody fashion after just a few months . Thus he certainly knew what he was talking about when, many years later, sustaining the need for a lebendige Gesellschaftstechnik (‘socio-technical living’), he stated that “the work of the sociologist, as a programmer and ‘social engineer’, can doubtlessly elevate the rationality level of social decisions, and he shouldnot subtract himself from this social task” . The Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum (Museum of society and economy), opened in Vienna in 1925, which was to give birth to figural pedagogical studies (Bildpädagogie), was the product of a precise social policy action: a militant exhibition hosted in the Municipal square of the city, promoted by Neurath in his role as secretary of the Österreichisches Verbandes für Siedlungsund Kleingartenwesen (Austrian Association for urban installations, vegetable gardens and parks).
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The organization of the group’s work. The data, collected by statisticians, was organized by the ‘translator’, the professional figure who acted as an intermediary between the elaboration of the contents and the visualization works by Arntz. Arntz’s designs were later engraved on matrixes, printed, cut out and glued onto panels.
In 1927, in an article explicitly entitled Statistikund Proletariat, he stated that if “the first blooming of statistics is tightly bound to absolutism”, the working class must take this instrument for transparency and planning into its own hands ; in another article he specifically tackled the panic which assails readers when they encounter tables and diagrams, as they consider this language the private property of an elite: “This ostracism must be broken” . In 1930, in the ambit of research organization and of the international regulation of pictographic systems and codes, he created the International Foundation for visual Education in The Hague, where he sought refuge after the German repression of the Bavarian Spartacist revolt.
Rondom Rembrandt In questa mostra sulla vita e sull’opera del grande pittore olandese, tenuta a L’Aia nel 1939, il gruppo di Neurath applicava, ad un tema storico-artistico, il metodo messo a punto nel museo di Vienna. A sinistra, una sala della mostra. Sulla pagina a fronte, a sinistra, la copertina del catalogo; a destra, un diagramma sul tempo di Rembrandt, organizzato secondo i principi di Isotype.
The international and cosmopolitan, or rather universalist, intent which led him to organize, in 1935 in Paris, the extremely successful First international congress for the unity of science, is quite clearly related to the diffusion of science. And, in 1938, it was certainly a similar enlightened spirit that urged him to begin, in Chicago, the vast project of the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science (Oxford 1945). We know from Charles Morris that “Neurath had been planning a rich ‘visual thesaurus’ (he would sometimes call it ‘figural thesaurus’, and in other occasions ‘Isotype thesaurus’), which was supposed to represent a ‘synopsis of figures of the world’” . Neurath explicitly wrote: “The figured language of the Isotype would be useful for an international encyclopaedia of general knowledge, as a subsidiary language. A whole series of images that have already been developed will perhaps become a part of this illustrated encyclopaedia” .
Stampati della campagna promossa dalla National Tuberculosis Association of America nel 1930 per combattere la tubercolosi.
The question of cosmopolitism and encyclopaedism, of Entbabylonisierung (deBabylonization) , represents an undeniable trait-d’union between the Isotype project and the great Neurathian holistic project, the affirmation of the unity of science, which developed around his figure within the cultural, philosophical, epistemological and scientific environment of Vienna and the international scenario. Yet, despite this evident connection, Ellen Lupton is rather imprudent when she states that “Isotype is a popular version of logical positivism” . Although he is identified, in all philosophical manuals, as the personification and even the paradigm of logical positivism, if we observe Neurath carefully he is a far less delineated thinker than this seems to imply. Indeed it is not even correct to state that Neurath is properly a positivist (especially if
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we refer to his criticisms of Comte, and his idea of a philosophical centralism exercised by a sort of super-science which disciplines the concrete work by scientists) , nor can we define him as a logicist (we must consider the deep contrast between the Carnapian theory of the logical unity of scientific language and the Neurathian project for an encyclopaedic orchestration of discursive procedures) .
analysis of the phantasiebilder (fantastic figures) of theoretic hypotheses  would be far more useful, as physical theories depend on Bilder und Bildchen (figures and small figures) that are used to build them . This argument really does appear to be the signal of a hardly indirect connection to the project of the construction of a Bildersprache (figural language).
Yet on the other hand Robin Kinross appears to be rather drastic in stating that: “The more one reaches a general overview of Neurath’s work, the less he is tempted to presuppose – as has sometimes been done – the existence of who knows which special connections between aspects of the philosophy of the Viennese circle and the attempt to create a figural language” .
Rarely does the creator of a determined intellectual product turn it into a propagation instrument for a vision which is not his own; it is equally improbable that such a product would not imply the cultural ideas, the epistemic conceptions and even the ideological perspectives of its creator. However Kinross does not even appear to intend, more subtly, that Neurath’s ideas were something completely different and separate from the philosophical climate of the Vienna circle. Of course the general orientation of Neurath’s thought is full of enlightened and Marxist ‘evaluation prejudices’, which concur to the formation of an instrumentalist conception of knowledge, and of a profound social-historical relativism regarding the methods and results of science, just as the direct and profound influence of classical conventionalism (Pierre Duhem, Henri Poincaré, Abel Rey) led him to dismiss the influence of both logicism and of Comtian positivism. On the other hand, the Viennese orthodoxy revolved around Russell’s logical fundamentalism, Wittgenstein’s method of logical-linguistic dissolution of philosophical questions, and the Schlickian-Carnapian theories regarding the “meaning” of scientific enunciations as a possibility to reduce them to propositions on what is taken for granted (das Gegebene) . Yet it would also be excessive to exclude Neurath from the Viennese circle: after all, he was the figure Karl Popper considered to be its true founder . As an epistemologist, Neurath, from the extreme conventionalist perspective of his Prinzipielles zur Geschichte der Optik (Questions of principle for a history of optics), a work that is almost completely devoid of prejudices towards any code or language, stated that the analysis of the scientific theories of physics should not be based on texts consisting of discursive arguments and mathematical formulas. An
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typology of translation forms: 1) intra-linguistic translation, 2) intra-linguistic translation and 3) inter-semiotic translation or transmutation. Roman Jakobson, On linguistic Aspects of Translation, in R.A. Brower, On Traslation, Cambridge Mass., Harward University Press, 1959. 4. Neurath insisted strongly on the specialistic nature of this intervention; Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 255. 5. A famous definition by Albe Steiner.
* All translations in the original article, from German into Italian, were done by Progetto Grafico. 1. Neurath described the work on the Isotype as follows: “If we are to transform and design – to write with figural language – it is not sufficient to know the rules, we must be trained to use them. This is why it was possible to start this type of language only after the birth of an organization in which a group of people from different formations had the possibility of working together for various years. The Vienna municipality created such an organization in 1925, with the opening of the Gesellschafts-und Wirtschaftsmuseum of Vienna, which lasted until 1934. Ten years earlier the images produced by this group had been exposed in public for the first time. Since then the group worked on the elaboration of the Isotype figural language. Each new figure is a step forward. A large number of figures were produced for a large number of countries. The organization for the production of didactic images is now  in The Hague. An organization was created specifically in order to give such efforts a new push forward and to explain the new pedagogic form, based on these images: the International Association for the diffusion of images according to the Isotype method (presided by M.L. Fleddérus), located in The Hague. A series of people contributed to the construction of the system, and some of them now work together within the main group of the Mundaneum Institute in The Hague. Marie Reidemeister collects materials and realizes the transformations; Gernd Arnz and Erwin Bernath design signs and realize images; Josef Scheer is in charge of printing and colouring, as well as assisting everybody. Josef Franck has been our consultant with regards to architecture and museum management since the beginning of our activity”. From the introduction to the essay: Marie Reidemaister Neurath, Otto Neurath, International Picture Language (London Kegan Paul, 1936), now translated into German: Otto Neurath, Gesammelte philosophische und metodologische Schriften, edited by R. Haller and H. Rutte, Vienna, Verlag Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky 1981, vol. 3, p.356 and passim). 2. Marie Reidemeister Neurath, Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 7. 3. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 356. The term “transformation” anticipates the idea that graphic-communicative design represents a translation: cfr. Meyer-Eppler W., Anwendungen der Kommunikationsforschung auf lautsprachliche und tipographische Probleme, in: “Sprachforum”, n.1, 1955. We should also underline the convergence with the terminology of Jakobson’s
6. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 376-7. 7. Abraham A. Moles, Théorie de l’information et perception esthétique, Denöel, Paris 1958. View the binds between the dimension of complexity, Shannonially related to intelligibility, and the dimension of iconicity/schematization. We can state that high grades of iconicity correspond to a greater interpretative immediateness (learning), while strongly schematized grades support a greater interpretative constancy (conventionalization, recognition). Giovanni Anceschi, Progettazione visiva. Convenzioni e procedimenti di rappresentazione, Budrio-Bologna, Edizioni Officina Immagine, 1981. 8. Alongside the Transformation-Abteilung [transformation office] initially led by Neurath himself and later by Marie Neurath, the Wiener Methode featured the graphic design office, where Gerd Arnz and Edwin Bernath worked; Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p.341. 9. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 3. 10. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 3. 11. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 2 12. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 154 13. In other words what we call the ‘Civilization of the spectacle’; Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 348. 14. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 3 15. “Even the communicative intention classified as ‘didactic’ may be intended as a form of mediated prescription. In social terms we may perhaps intend all pedagogy as an institutionalized form of influence […]”; Giovanni Anceschi, Progettazione, cit., p. 59. 16. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 151. 17. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 3. 18. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 363. 19. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 284. 20. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 346. 21. Luis J. Prieto, Lineamenti di semiologia. Messaggi e Segnali, Feltrinelli, Milan, 1971, p. 19. 22. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 49 23. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 447
24. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 423. The notion of visual unity (i.e. of symbol), is very close to that of the monogram (cfr. Giovanni Anceschi, Monogrammi e figure, Florence, la casa Usher, 1981). After all, Neurath spoke of monogrammatisch hinzugefügte Zeichen; Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p.280. The level of iconic detail, in the case of the monogram, is tendentially very low in function of the mainly writing-based nature of the element. It is not static, as it is determined, in Neurath’s visual unity, by questions of content (view the example of the representation of lungs on page 436). Thus the ‘visual unity’ is above all a syntactic question, i.e. a summative one, regarding the predisposition to be re-utilized and re-built (Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p.261). Furthermore, in the case of the ‘Isotypes’, the renunciation of the illusory three dimensionality of perspective, etc. should not be intended as Lupton does, as a rhetoric of honesty (“Flatness suggests a factual honesty, as opposed to the illusionism of perspective drawing”), but as an adhesion to a summative systematic nature, i.e. to their use as elements associated between themselves (p. 383) and as components of a whole (p. 372). Neurath explicitly spoke of an actual work of montage (Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p.262), to produce semi-manufactured goods. Regarding the beloved hieroglyphs: “[…] this possibility of combining things was the source of my love for symbols, both single symbols and composite ones to be separated and recomposed in other ways […]” (Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 641). 25. View the definition of the consented chromatic spectrum: Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 367-371. 26. Thomas Rurik, Die Konstruktion des Entwurfshandelns. Dissertation Zur erlangun des Grades eines Doktors der Philosophie an der Universitãt Bremen, 1992, p. 35. Rurik, a young scholar whose demise was premature, was active in the Hocschule für Gestaltung of Schwäbisch Gmünd, an important centre for Neurathian studies – above all by Michael Burke – and more in general for studies on information design – by Michael Klar. 27. View the normative systems for pictograms and symbols, Din and Uni, but above all, currently, the work by the International Organisation for Standardisation of the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda). 28. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. p. 363. 29. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. p. 285. 30. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 365. 31. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 272. 32. “The masters of the réclame are not always willing to give their attention to this type of products, which are less evident and above all may only be produced through a collective effort”. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 159. 33. Neurath ironizes on the Werkbund, which “observes tables, vases, cigarette boxes, cars, cities, advertisement installations and posters. Why not
visual nouns (Sachbilder)?”. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 153.
46. Danilo Zolo, cit., p. 92. 47. Danilo Zolo, cit., p. 93.
34. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 161. Non è difficile pensare alle vetrine della Rosta e ai grafici del produttivismo sovietico.
48. Robin Kinross, Introduction to Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit. p. XIV. 49. Danilo Zolo, cit., pp. 32 e 33.
35. This is a relevant problem, which is now once more extremely discussed, due to the symbolic and iconic proliferation in the world of hypermedia, multimedia and telematics. Cfr. Paragraph 4 of the Charter of graphic design (Aosta-Milan, 1989), Charter of Graphic Design. Proposal of a Debate on Visual Communication Design, in “Design Issues”, n.1, vol. VIII, (Fall) 1991. 36. Danilo Zolo, Scienza e politica in Otto Neurath. Una prospettiva postempirica, Feltrinelli, Milan 1986, p. 13. 37. Danilo Zolo, op. cit., p. 31. 38. Danilo Zolo, op. cit., p. 22. 39. Danilo Zolo, op. cit., p. 150. 40. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 80 and passim. 41. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 122. Neurath very probably refers to statistics’ pioneers such as the Englishmen Johannes Graunt (Observationes naturales et politicae in indices, London, Martin 1678) Guglielmus Petty (Specimina duo de Aritmetica Politica, London, Mortolocke 1687) and the German Gotefredus Achenwald (Prima lineamenta constitutionis status regnorum Europae Germaniaeque, Gottingen, Schmid 1751). The affirmation of the term statistics (étatique) is due to Belgian astronomer and mathematician Adolphe Quetelet. The age of statistic visualization opened with the ‘Tableau Poléométrique’, by Charles de Fourcroy, edited in Paris by DupontTriel in 1782 (cfr. Pére de Dainville, Grandeur et population des villes, in “Population”, n. XIII, 1958, 459-480); it then developed thanks to William Playfair (An Inquiry into the Permanent Causes of the Decline and The Fall of Powerful and Wealthy Nations, London, T. Cadell and W. Davies 1805), who initiated the age of historical synopses, and proceeded with Joseph Minard (Carte figurative des pertes successives en hommes de l’armée qu’Annibal conduisit d’Espagne en Italie en traversant les Gaules [selon Polybe] e Carte figurative des pertes successives en hommes de l’armée française dans la campagne de Russie, 1812-1813, 1869). Enpc: Fol 10975, 10974/C612; cfr. Edward Tufte, The visual display of quantitative information, Cheshire, Ct, Graphics Press 1983, p. 176.
50. “ [I] have little dubt that it was Otto Neurat who, with the hope in mind of a philosophical reform of politics, attempted to give the circle of men around Schlick and Hahn a more definite shape: and thus it may have been he, perhaps more than anybody else, who was instrumental in turning it into the Vienna circle”. Cit. in Danilo Zolo, cit., p. 26. x. 51. We can not avoid referring to the notion of hypothetigraphy by Manfredo Massironi (Vedere con il disegno, Verona, Franco Muzzio 1982, p.119 e passim). 52. Otto Neurath, Prinzipielles zur Geschichte der Optik, “Archiv für die Geschichte de Naturwissenschaften und der Technick”, vol. 5, 1915, pp. 371-389; now in Gesammelte, cit., vol. 1, pp.85-101 (cit. in Danilo Zolo, cit., p. 37). The expression circulated in German language culture, cfr. Ludwig Volkmann, Bilderschriften der Renaissance. Hieroglyphik und Emblematik in ihren Beziehungen und Fortwirkungen, B. de Graaf, Nieuwkoop, 1969, p. 239, (re-print of the Leipzig edition, 1923).
3. Sviluppo della produzione di grano e riso dal 1860 (tavola da Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft, 1930). La disposizione degli elementi è determinata dalla struttura stessa dei dati, che sono distribuiti rispettando la posizione geograﬁca dei paesi di produzione. Gli assi verticali più marcati consentono un confronto immediato tra la le diverse macroaree (America e resto del mondo per il grano, India ed Estremo oriente per il riso). 4. Piccole, medie e grandi imprese in Germania (tavola da Entwicklung von Landwirtschaft und Gewerbe in Deutschland, 1928)
42. Robin Kinross, Introduction to Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit. p. XIV. 43. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 337.
5. Lavoratori delle imprese commerciali in Germania (da Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft, 1930). Le due tavole mostrano diverse fasi di
44. Otto Neurath, Gesammelte, cit., vol. 3, p. 354. 45. Hellen Leupton, Reading Isotype, in Victor Margolin, ed.,Design Discourse, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, pp. 145-146, cit. p. 147.
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elaborazione dello stesso tema: i dati sono organizzati in modo tale da mostrare non solo l’aumento dei lavoratori impiegati, ma anche la direzione dell’incremento; questo effetto viene ottenuto usando come asse il dato relativo alle industrie di medie dimensioni, rispetto al quale lo spostamento verso la grande industria diventa evidente. Nella seconda tavola si può notare l’uso delle “ﬁgure guida” per raggruppare i lavoratori secondo la dimensione delle imprese; rispetto alla prima versione, si è anche deciso di ridurre la quantità di dati presentati, eliminando quelli del 1907, che non incidono sull’andamento complessivo.