Explaining a new society

In Britain, from the early 1940s, Isotype reconnected with the issues of social welfare and planning that had been integral to its development in Vienna. One of its tasks was to visualise information about the budding welfare state. This meant that during the Second World War, Otto and Marie Neurath were entrusted with secret documents only two years after their release from internment.

After the war, the Isotype Institute completed further work in this area, including a series of charts about the newly established National Health Service and contributions to the 'New Democracy' series of books examining issues of post-war social reconstruction.

Social Security

This booklet summarises the report by the economist William Beveridge that sowed the seeds for the British welfare state. At the time the booklet was published, Beveridge and his report were out of favour with politicians, despite great public support. Editions of the text were published in a number of languages, including Italian, Dutch and French, but always with the same Isotype charts.

Ronald Davison
London: Harrap

Social Insurance

This booklet outlines government proposals based largely on William Beveridge's recommendations. It was the first published summary of a government white paper to include diagrams, and was criticised for this reason in parliamentary discussions.

London: HMSO


'The New Democracy' book series


'The New Democracy' was a series of 8 titles. It presented questions of social welfare and reform that were central to 'winning the peace' in Britain after the Second World War. Text was combined with documentary photographs and Isotype charts. The documentary film director Paul Rotha served as picture editor for some titles.

Stephen Taylor, Battle for Health: a Primer of Social Medicine, London: Nicholson & Watson, 1944
Charlotte Luetkens, Women and a New Society, London: Nicholson & Watson, 1946
Norman Davis, Problems in Industry, London: Nicholson & Watson, 1946
Norman Crosby, Full Enjoyment, London: Nicholson & Watson, 1948

[8.12, 8.13]
Charts on the National Health Service

These charts show features of the early National Health Service. They were produced for British Council 'Study Boxes' that documented areas of British public life and social provision. Study Boxes were also shipped to British Council offices abroad for local use. These charts bear some relationship to a pair of charts included in Stephen Taylor's Battle for Health: A Primer of Social Medicine (1944) (shown above).

'Estimated cost and personnel 1949-50'


Recent research projects

October 2019 |

Remarks to Bildfabriken exhibition opening

January 2018 |

Recent publishing

January 2017 |

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Information in time and place

Eric Kindel |

From hieroglyphics to Isotype, book launch remarks

Burke, Kindel, Kinross |

'Isotype revisited'

Isotype revisited |

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