Infographics: The Past Looks Just Like the Present

You’ll be surprised to know that the first infographics look nothing like the time they were created. And mind you, they were made in as early as the 1930s, with woodcuts and such old hand-printing implements.

The International System of Typographic Picture Education or ISOTYPE, the brainchild of Austrian philosopher and curator Otto Neurath, is a symbolic system of representing information. Neurath’s goal was to provide a means to effectively communicate data that would be unweildy in text form.

Thanks to this picture language, we immediately recognize day-to-day instructions and warnings, saving us a good deal of time.

Laundry instructions via

Below are vintage pedestrian and educational ISOTYPES that are fascinatingly graphic and minimalist – two trends that are better associated with the present.


The general style of ISOTYPES took from the pictographic work of German artist Gerd Arntz. He developed thousands of pictograms, which became the bases for the icons we use today.


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written by sleepswimming on 2011-07-06 #news #vintage #lomography #news #iconography #isotype #otto-neurath #gerd-arntz

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