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Battle for health: a primer of social medicine / Stephen Taylor. London: Nicholson & Watson, 1944 

“In developing Isotype, Otto Neurath and his colleagues were the first to systematically explore a consistent visual langiage as part of an encyclopedic approach to representing all aspects of the physical world. The pictograms used in Isotype have a secure legacy in today's public information symbols, but Isotype was more than this: it was designed to communicate social facts memorably to less.educated groups, including schoolchildren and workers, reflecting its initial testing ground in the socialist municipality of Vienna during the 1920s (...) In some ways Isotype offered an alternative to verbal language -'Words divide, pictures unite' was one of Neurath's catchphrases. He saw the potential in using simplified pictures for informing less-educated adults, and schoolchildren, but also for international communication. The Isotype pictograms were intended to be signs that spoke for themselves and bypassed verbal language in some ways. Yet Neurath never pretended that Isotype was a complete language suitable for replacing verbal language: he considered Isotype to be an auxiliary language, which could only make coarse representations and which almost always needed some verbal elements to explain it.”

 

Christopher Burke. “Isotype: representing social facts pictorially.” Information Design Journal, vol. 17, nº 3, 2009 (p. 210)