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Neurath & Modley

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 in Books, graphic design, History

I fell in love with the work of Rudolph Modley when I randomly found a book he illustrated, The United States; A Graphic History, in a used bookstore. My enthusiasm about Modley’s graphic design work lead to my discovery of his study under the more ground breaking Austrian philosopher and sociologist Otto Neurath. Modley’s work in the US by his company Pictograph is strongly and unquestionably influenced by the work of Neurath’s firm Isotype. Some web research suggests a rift developed between the two; some argue the sociological depth of Neurath’s work in Europe gave way to more superficial application of his graphic developments under Modley in the US. Another surprise in the history of the American market place. Whatever their differences, they can both be thanked for our collective abilities to make it into the appropriately gendered restroom. (No time to link everything today– I know, poor scholarship. Do your own googling.) Here’s a side by side, Neurath in the top two images and Modley below (it’s all about the feet!):

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