Walker in Poland

November 2008

Sue Walker presented a paper at a seminar at the Academy of Fine Arts, Katowice, Poland, 13-16 November 2008. Her paper, 'Let's see inside: the Isotype Institute's approach to child-centred book design', dealt with children's books designed by the Isotype Institute from the 1940s to the late 1960s. The books were part of several series including the 'Visual history of mankind', 'Wonders of the modern world', 'Visual science', 'The wonder world of nature', and 'They lived like this'.

The paper offered an account of the making of these books, acknowledging the importance Otto and Marie Neurath placed on encouraging younger readers to engage with non-fiction texts. It showed how the Neurath's brought a child-centred approach to book design, and how Isotype principles were used to enhance accessibility. The paper highlighted Marie Neurath's role as 'transformer', underpinning an approach to integrated book design in which editors and designers worked as teams making books whose texts and pictures were considered alongside each other.

The paper was illustrated with examples of Otto and Marie Neurath's sketch work, and showed in detail a number of specific graphic explanations and the rationale behind them.


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