Jan Willem Tulp asked me an interesting question on Twitter last week: if ISOTYPE was so great, why isn’t anybody using it anymore? Here are some of my thoughts, but more than that I want to see if anybody has more idea, and maybe even a bit of evidence, on why ISOTYPE fell out of fashion in the 1950s and hasn’t really come back since.[Read more…] about What Happened to ISOTYPE?
This book from 1945 contains a very interesting mix of different charts made by the ISOTYPE Institute, some classic and some quite unusual. As a book about labor and unemployment, it also makes extensive use of Gerd Arntz’s famous unemployed man icon.[Read more…] about ISOTYPE Book: Young, Prager, There’s Work for All
The book Only An Ocean Between by Lella Secor Florence contains some of the most iconic ISOTYPE charts. It was published in 1943, as part of a small series called America and Britain. [Read more…] about ISOTYPE Book: Florence, Only An Ocean Between
This is perhaps the oddest book with an ISOTYPE illustration, certainly of the ones I have seen so far. It also contains the most confusing chart produced by the ISOTYPE Institute I am aware of. [Read more…] about ISOTYPE Book: Priestley, British Women Go To War
The first book in the new series on ISOTYPE books is The Vital Flame by Compton Mackenzie, published by The British Gas Council in 1947. It contains 42 color photographs and five ISOTYPE charts, with a nice variety of different topics and styles.
Presenting facts through data is not a recent idea. Otto and Marie Neurath created ISOTYPE in the 1920s and then ran their ISOTYPE Institute for more than two decades. During that time, they created charts for a wide variety of publications. In this series, I will show a number of these charts that I have found, and discuss the context they appeared in. [Read more…] about New Series: ISOTYPE Books
When people talk about the history of data visualization, the same set of names always comes up: Playfair, Nightingale, Snow, Minard. They are historically important, alright, but why do they overshadow all the other work that was done? And what do we know about how important they actually were? [Read more…] about The Repetitive and Boring History of Visualization
Unit charts are not common in visualization, and they are often considered a bad idea. The same is true for using shapes other than rectangles. Neither is based on much actual research, however. In a new paper, we look at the specific example of ISOTYPE-style charts – and find them to be quite effective.
Communicating data visually is not only about perception and precision, but also understanding. ISOTYPE was developed to bridge the gap between showing data in a way that’s easy to read and at the same time easier to understand than unadorned bar charts. [Read more…] about The ISOTYPE