Exhibition: Isotype International Picture Language, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2 December 2010-15 May 2011
As a politically engaged graphic artist and designer Gerd Arntz (1900-1988) portrayed the world in wood and linoleum cuts. During the 1920s, he conveyed his vision on social wrongs and the rise of Nazism in Germany in his prints. He did this in such a simple, direct style that anyone - regardless of their education and nationality - was able to understand his images. This prompted the Viennese social scientist Otto Neurath (1882-1945) to ask him to design the symbols for the ’International system Of Typographic Picture Education’ (ISOTYPE). During his long career, Arntz made more than 4000 coherent, powerful and legible symbols and figures. We still see their traces around us on a daily basis: in pictograms featured on objects ranging from traffic signs to gameboys, and in information graphics.
This book displays many Isotypes and explains the system and its context. This overview of Gerd Arntz’s life and work includes a selection of his political prints and other rare visual material that was never published previously. With contributions from Flip Bool, Gert Dumbar, Mieke Gerritzen, Nigel Holmes, Max Kisman, Paul Mijksenaar and Erik Spiekermann.
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