Sue Walker is Professor of Typography at the University of Reading. Her research interests are in the relationship between typography and language, and in information design history, theory and practice. She is co-editor of the Gower Handbook of Information Design, due for publication in 2015.
Monday 7 April: Information narratives Session 3
Designing information for children: how Marie Neurath and her team did it
Designing complex information usually involves collaboration as part of the process of designing. It brings together different knowledge and expertise, and different stakeholders, including end users, in the solution of particular problems. It involves inter- and cross-disciplinary thinking and working in teams. The work of the Isotype Institute in the design and production of children’s books from the 1940s to the early 1970s provides an early example of this kind of working.
The Isotype idea of ‘transformation’ done by a ‘transformer’ has been well-documented, especially by Marie Neurath herself. What is less clear is what transformation involved in practice, and how the transformer worked with others involved in design and production. Marie Neurath’s work on the books for young people (with Otto Neurath before his death) is one exemplification of this process. In particular, it draws attention to the relevance of thinking through drawing and how members of a team worked together.
This illustrated talk will use archival material to show how Marie Neurath and her team went about designing information books for children, and the various roles that the team members played within this process.