Infographics and ISOTYPE and NSIs


Good infographics for statistical matters do not only need diagrams (like histograms or bar charts) but also lots of icons and symbols helping to illustrate the topic.

A pioneer in this field was Otto Neurath.


‘ISOTYPE – the International System Of TYpographicPicture Education – … was an early infographical form, originated in the 1930s by Austrian philosopher and curator Otto Neurath “as a symbolic way of representing quantitative information via easily interpretable icons”.’ (Information is beautiful)

Animals life

More about transforming data into visualisations also in Marie Neuraths ‘The Transformer: Principles of Making Isotype Charts’ 

2013-06-16_marieneurathtransformerToday: ONS as an example of good visualisations for statistics

Statistical Agencies use visualisations in their daily information work. During the UNECE Work Session on the Communication of Statistics in Berlin (27-29 May 2013) Alan Smith OBE, Office for National Statistics (ONS,UK) gave a short overview and insight in this topic.

Two statements from his paper ‘Data Visualisation for the Citizen User: Making Better Graphics Quicker‘:

‘Data visualisation appeals to National Statistics Institutes (NSIs) because of its ability to engage users and increase the potential outreach of official statistics. But data visualisation is a broad field, with content types ranging from simple infographics through to sophisticated tools for exploratory data analysis. ……

More broadly, data visualisation offers NSIs an opportunity to exploit their expertise in formats which boost user engagement and readership. It also carries with it the highly desirable side effects of boosting relationships with the media and reputational benefits virtually everywhere else. A final note of caution, however, is that these visualisations should be centred on the expertise of the NSI, not based on a notion of style over content – others do that better.’