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Only An Ocean Between / Lella Secor Florence. London: George G. Harrap & Company, 1943

“Otto Neurath and Marie Reidemeister were ensnared in a British internment camp after they fled the advancing Nazi army in 1941. They quickly married after they were released, and a year later, Otto and Marie co-founded the Isotype Institute. That same year, the Isotype Institute found an important collaborator with a book packaging company called Adprint. Founded by a fellow Austrian, Adprint’s collaboration with the Isotype Institute led to the creation of a number of books that promoted cultural understanding between Britain and its allies during the war. As the war was still in full swing, Adprint and the Neuraths collaborated with the British government to create two series of books that featured Isotypes: “America and Britain” followed by “The Soviets and Ourselves”. Each book was by a different author and the Isotype charts have no real overlap with the writing in each book (other than the general subject matter) so the Isotype Institute was given additional credit as authors on the cover (...) This series of books represents an interesting moment in the life of the core team of Otto, Marie, and Gerd. In 1940 Gerd Arntz, a German-born artist who helped refine the aesthetics of Isotype by applying his modernist and design sensibilities, chose to remain in the Netherlands as the Neuraths fled the war. The Neuraths retained basic design elements from the years of collaboration with Arntz — and indeed agreed that they collectively ‘owned’ the work — but did not have contact with him for a few years after they settled in England. This series of Isotype charts in these two book series are, in some ways, the pinnacle of Isotype design. Otto and Marie’s collaboration on these books would have been some of the last projects that Otto worked on before his death and also shows the first steps by Marie in evolving the form and visual language of Isotype.”


Jason Forrest. Exploring Isotype Charts: “Only An Ocean Between.” Nightingale: the journal of the Data Visualization Society, February 17, 2020.

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