The relevance of Otto Neurath: From ISOTYPE to visual journalism for a visual account of society
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In seeking to explore one of the possible directions in the evolution of the relationship between graphic image and society in the field of information design, it is essential to consider the figure of Otto Neurath, the Austrian sociologist, philosopher and economist, author of ISOTYPE, a visual system with the ambition to be universal, designed to inform a larger part of society than consolidated information systems allow. Neurath may be considered as a pioneer of visual journalism, a narrative form based on visual communication that aims to inform and/or offer an entry point into complex and multifaceted themes to a public that is often distracted and even overwhelmed by the quantity of available information. In recent years, almost a century later, we are witnessing a new era of particular attention to information design, that relies on data visualisation, infographics, and even visual journalism as a meaningful synthesis of texts and graphic images. These practices are now consolidated, and are finding greater scope and space for design thanks to the advent of new technological paradigms that make Neurath's work extremely relevant. There are many common features in this parallel across time, such as interdisciplinary practice, or user-focused design. Though the technological – and hence semantic – differences are obvious, there remains a common thread that also connects some of the aspects that involve society. In his book, International Picture Language (1936), Neurath makes reference to the large quantity of images and visual stimuli to which we are constantly subjected: a sort of information overload that makes it fundamental to plan strategies for conveying information to a public that has become "blind" to the overabundance of stimuli. The proposal we submit will introduce case studies in visual journalism that support the thesis according to which visual communication based on graphics and images, as an integral part of multidisciplinary investigative news reports, can play a role in educating a society capable of elaborating a critical view of events that take place at a speed that often allow little time for thought[i]. [i] Alessandro Luigini wrote paragraphs 1 and 2, Matteo Moretti wrote paragraphs 3 and 4
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