Beyond Rows of Little Men

Resuming Isotype Transformation with the Case of the Bilston Venture Exhibition, 1946

Publikation: Bog / Antologi / Afhandling / RapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

Resumé

Informationsdesign repræsenterer en tværfaglig og integrerende tilgang, der gør
information mere tilgængelig for modtageren. Desværre afspejler denne tilgang sig
ikke altid i informationsgrafikker, da integreringen af indhold og form ofte bliver
overfladisk eller farvet af modstridende mål mellem statistik og design. Imidlertid
lykkedes det i 1920’erne den grafiske tilgang, Isotype, at integrere netop disse to
verdener ved hjælp af den såkaldte transformer. Transformerens rolle, hvis udvikling
især Marie Neurath stod bag, var at optræde som bindeled mellem ekspert og kunstner ved at oversætte faktuel information til letforståelige, visuelle argumenter
ved hjælp af piktogrammer. Transformerrollens filosofiske aspekter har på mange
måder dannet forbillede for nutidens informationsdesigner, hvorimod mange aspekter
fra selve transformationsprocessen forbliver uhåndgribelige for designeren, ligesom de ofte misforstås og konkretiseres som ‘rækker af små mænd’. 

Afhandlingen søger at påvise, at det ved at anvende forskningstilgangen research through design som en supplerende forskningsmetode til at undersøge arkiveret Isotype-materiale er muligt at gøre Isotype-transformation til et mere tilgængeligt og brugbart begreb. Tolv Isotype-diagrammer omhandlende et genhusningsprojekt, der indgik i en efterkrigstidsudstilling i 1946 i Bilston i England, er således genstand for et dyberegående casestudie, der undersøger transformationsprocessen i krydsfeltet mellem fortid og fremtid på grundlag af følgende forskningsspørgsmål:

Hvordan kan de procedurer og mønstre, der indgår i transformationsprocessen, beskrives og videregives?
Hvad er de grundlæggende elementer i Marie Neuraths transformationsproces, og hvordan påvirker disse den statistiske grafik?

Spørgsmålene besvares gennem en teoretisk gennemgang af forskellige transformationsperspektiver, suppleret med en designhistorisk og eksperimentel analyse af Marie Neuraths samarbejds- og skitseringsprocesser. Som et resultat heraf kan afhandlingen siges at yde et bidrag på tre felter: For det første – i en designhistorisk sammenhæng – giver afhandlingen et kronologisk billede af transformationsprocessen; derved udmønter den sig i et nyt stykke grafisk designhistorie, der giver en mere varieret og praktisk forståelse af Isotype-transformation. For det andet – i en forskningsmetodisk sammenhæng – gør afhandlingen rede for, hvordan de to forskellige forskningstilgange research into design og research through design kan forenes gennem tre sammenhængende
eksperimenter, der veksler mellem historisk analyse og informationsvisualisering;
herigennem bidrager afhandlingen med forskningsmetoder, der kan overføres til andre domæner og cases. For det tredje – i en designpraktisk sammenhæng – godtgør resultatet af eksperimenterne – en samling af symboler og diagrammer – hvordan Marie Neuraths arbejde udviser konsekvens og særpræg på samme tid. Endelig udgør symbolerne det første skridt til dannelse af en moderne visuel ramme for, hvordan statistikker og billeder kan sammensættes ved en kombination af forskellige former for handlinger.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Udgivelses stedKolding
ForlagDesignskolen Kolding
Vol/bind2
Udgave1
Antal sider442
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2016

Kunstnerisk udviklingsvirksomhed (KUV)

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Citer dette

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title = "Beyond Rows of Little Men: Resuming Isotype Transformation with the Case of the Bilston Venture Exhibition, 1946",
abstract = "Information design represents a cross-disciplinary and integrative approach tomaking information more accessible to people. Unfortunately this does not alwaysecho in the creation of infographics, where the integration of content and formbecomes superficial or coloured by contrasting objectives between statistics anddesign. Conversely, in the 1920s, the graphic approach Isotype was successful inintegrating precisely these two worlds by developing the role of the transformer. Thetransformer, principally Marie Neurath, mediated between expert and artist andintelligibly translated factual information into visual arguments based on pictograms.While the philosophical aspects of the role of the transformer have successfullyinspired the model of the modern information designer, many aspects of thetransformation process remain elusive for today’s designers, misunderstood andimitated as ‘rows of little men’.This thesis suggests that it is possible to create a more transparent and usable notion of Isotype transformation by using research through design as a complementary research method to investigate archived Isotype material. Accordingly, an in-depth case study of a post-war exhibition in Bilston, UK, featuring 12 Isotype charts on a rehousing project, constitutes the source for investigating transformation at the intersection between yesterday and tomorrow with the following research questions:How can the transformation procedures and patterns be described and passed on?What are the basic components of Marie Neurath’s process of transformation, and how do these influence the statistical chart?The questions point to a threefold contribution and are answered through a theoreticalexamination of various transformation perspectives complemented with a design historical and experimental analysis of Marie Neurath’s collaboration/sketching process. First, in a design historical context, the thesis chronologically analyses the process of transformation and thus forms a novel piece of graphic design history providing a more varied and practical understanding of Isotype transformation. Secondly, in a research methodological context, the thesis discusses how two different research approaches research into design and research through design can inform each other through three contiguous experiments criss-crossing between historical analysis and information visualization methods. This aspect contributes with research methods that can be projected on to other cases and areas. Thirdly, in a design practical context, the experimental outcome – a collection of symbols and diagrams – clarifies a contrasting combination of consistency and distinctiveness in Marie Neurath’s work. Finally, the symbols also form the first step towards a modern visual framework of how to co-construct statistics and pictures through the combination of different categories of actions.",
keywords = "Infographics, Isotype, Transformation, Marie Neurath, Bilston, Graphic design history, Information design, Research through Design, Research into Design",
author = "Pia Pedersen",
year = "2016",
month = "6",
language = "English",
volume = "2",
publisher = "Designskolen Kolding",
edition = "1",

}

Beyond Rows of Little Men : Resuming Isotype Transformation with the Case of the Bilston Venture Exhibition, 1946. / Pedersen, Pia.

1 udg. Kolding : Designskolen Kolding, 2016. 442 s.

Publikation: Bog / Antologi / Afhandling / RapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

TY - BOOK

T1 - Beyond Rows of Little Men

T2 - Resuming Isotype Transformation with the Case of the Bilston Venture Exhibition, 1946

AU - Pedersen, Pia

PY - 2016/6

Y1 - 2016/6

N2 - Information design represents a cross-disciplinary and integrative approach tomaking information more accessible to people. Unfortunately this does not alwaysecho in the creation of infographics, where the integration of content and formbecomes superficial or coloured by contrasting objectives between statistics anddesign. Conversely, in the 1920s, the graphic approach Isotype was successful inintegrating precisely these two worlds by developing the role of the transformer. Thetransformer, principally Marie Neurath, mediated between expert and artist andintelligibly translated factual information into visual arguments based on pictograms.While the philosophical aspects of the role of the transformer have successfullyinspired the model of the modern information designer, many aspects of thetransformation process remain elusive for today’s designers, misunderstood andimitated as ‘rows of little men’.This thesis suggests that it is possible to create a more transparent and usable notion of Isotype transformation by using research through design as a complementary research method to investigate archived Isotype material. Accordingly, an in-depth case study of a post-war exhibition in Bilston, UK, featuring 12 Isotype charts on a rehousing project, constitutes the source for investigating transformation at the intersection between yesterday and tomorrow with the following research questions:How can the transformation procedures and patterns be described and passed on?What are the basic components of Marie Neurath’s process of transformation, and how do these influence the statistical chart?The questions point to a threefold contribution and are answered through a theoreticalexamination of various transformation perspectives complemented with a design historical and experimental analysis of Marie Neurath’s collaboration/sketching process. First, in a design historical context, the thesis chronologically analyses the process of transformation and thus forms a novel piece of graphic design history providing a more varied and practical understanding of Isotype transformation. Secondly, in a research methodological context, the thesis discusses how two different research approaches research into design and research through design can inform each other through three contiguous experiments criss-crossing between historical analysis and information visualization methods. This aspect contributes with research methods that can be projected on to other cases and areas. Thirdly, in a design practical context, the experimental outcome – a collection of symbols and diagrams – clarifies a contrasting combination of consistency and distinctiveness in Marie Neurath’s work. Finally, the symbols also form the first step towards a modern visual framework of how to co-construct statistics and pictures through the combination of different categories of actions.

AB - Information design represents a cross-disciplinary and integrative approach tomaking information more accessible to people. Unfortunately this does not alwaysecho in the creation of infographics, where the integration of content and formbecomes superficial or coloured by contrasting objectives between statistics anddesign. Conversely, in the 1920s, the graphic approach Isotype was successful inintegrating precisely these two worlds by developing the role of the transformer. Thetransformer, principally Marie Neurath, mediated between expert and artist andintelligibly translated factual information into visual arguments based on pictograms.While the philosophical aspects of the role of the transformer have successfullyinspired the model of the modern information designer, many aspects of thetransformation process remain elusive for today’s designers, misunderstood andimitated as ‘rows of little men’.This thesis suggests that it is possible to create a more transparent and usable notion of Isotype transformation by using research through design as a complementary research method to investigate archived Isotype material. Accordingly, an in-depth case study of a post-war exhibition in Bilston, UK, featuring 12 Isotype charts on a rehousing project, constitutes the source for investigating transformation at the intersection between yesterday and tomorrow with the following research questions:How can the transformation procedures and patterns be described and passed on?What are the basic components of Marie Neurath’s process of transformation, and how do these influence the statistical chart?The questions point to a threefold contribution and are answered through a theoreticalexamination of various transformation perspectives complemented with a design historical and experimental analysis of Marie Neurath’s collaboration/sketching process. First, in a design historical context, the thesis chronologically analyses the process of transformation and thus forms a novel piece of graphic design history providing a more varied and practical understanding of Isotype transformation. Secondly, in a research methodological context, the thesis discusses how two different research approaches research into design and research through design can inform each other through three contiguous experiments criss-crossing between historical analysis and information visualization methods. This aspect contributes with research methods that can be projected on to other cases and areas. Thirdly, in a design practical context, the experimental outcome – a collection of symbols and diagrams – clarifies a contrasting combination of consistency and distinctiveness in Marie Neurath’s work. Finally, the symbols also form the first step towards a modern visual framework of how to co-construct statistics and pictures through the combination of different categories of actions.

KW - Infographics

KW - Isotype

KW - Transformation

KW - Marie Neurath

KW - Bilston

KW - Graphic design history

KW - Information design

KW - Research through Design

KW - Research into Design

M3 - Ph.D. thesis

VL - 2

BT - Beyond Rows of Little Men

PB - Designskolen Kolding

CY - Kolding

ER -