This post is based on my workshop presentation at the 'Discussing popular science' workshop at Imperial College on Friday. Thanks to Alice for a great event! Though I could only make half the day, I met loads of interesting people, and the discussion-based format was a nice change from the usual.
I chose to bring along some the Max Parrish Isotype books for children that are part of the Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype archive held in the Department of Typography in Reading. These were developed by Marie Neurath and published by Max Parrish in London from the late 1940s to the 1960s. The books are innovative in their approach to picture/text integration and characterised by a very systematic approach to pictorial information, colour, layout and writing -- excellent examples of integrated design and layout.
This is just a beauty shot of the covers. 2-page spreads are after the break!
I wanted to show these because it is easy to forget how wide-ranging the work of the Isotype Institute really was -- we tend to think only of isotype charts of social and economic data, but plans for children’s books had been set since the early 1940s, a reflection of the Institute's interest in education. Marie Neurath continued the work of the Institute after Otto’s death in 1945, and worked to write, design (‘transform’), and produce the books along with a small team.
The books deal a variety of themes including nature and biology, science and technology, people of the world, and more. By 1971, the Institute had produced over 80 books for children, which were translated into other languages.