An insight into the beginnings of information design [that] no doubt influence designers today. Design Week

A watershed in information design for children. David Benmayer

Listen to review by Alice Rawsthorn on BBC Radio London’s Robert Elms Show [Skip to 2.17.15]

The collection

The collection, given to the University of Reading by Marie Neurath in 1971, is the most comprehensive archive of the work of the Isotype movement, documenting methods of designing and disseminating data that have played a major role in twentieth-century graphic design thinking.

The exhibition

This exhibition is about the work of Marie Neurath and her colleagues at the Isotype Institute in London. They produced over 80 illustrated children’s books between the end of the 1940s and the start of the 1970s. The books are the result of close collaboration between scientists, illustrators and writers.

The process

Marie Neurath was involved in all stages of the work, as demonstrated by the remarkable materials in the Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype Collection at the University of Reading. The collection contains source materials, correspondence, drawings, and specifications for print that together show how the books were made.

The techniques

Visual techniques used by Marie Neurath include Magnification, Cross-section and Sequencing. Despite being unrealistic and seemingly fantastical, these techniques, used to break down complex subjects, are what made her communication of scientific subjects to children and adults so clear and effective.

Work in progress

The exhibition was curated by Sue Walker and Eric Kindel from the University of Reading, Anne Odling-Smee from Design Science and Olivia Ahmad and Katie Nairne from the House of Illustration.

House of Illustration

The exhibition at House of Illustrationwill display books from several children’s book series, including ‘Wonder world of nature’ and ‘Wonders of the modern world’, and materials that explain the process of designing. Also on display will be materials created for use in schools today, based on Marie Neurath’s illustrations.

The exhibition will run 19 July – 3 November 2019.