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I recently purchased ‘The Transformer: Principles of Making Isotype Charts’ – a book full of data visualisations by Austrian sociologist Otto Neurath and his wife Marie. The book explains the art of transforming quantitative data into visual representations, or infographics as they are regularly known today.
If you thought infographics were a new digital concept (like me) then you are very much mistaken; people were drawing visual representations by hand as early as the 1900s (and probably before but I haven’t had enough time to research any information prior to this date).
Below are some examples of hand-drawn charts by Sociology students at Atlanta University. Their professor, DU Bois, was an African American activist who wanted to put his findings into clever charts making it easy for people to see the facts about the African American community.
The following examples are from Willard C. Brinton’s 1939 book ‘Graphic Presentation’. Willard’s methods of presenting facts as graphics are still followed today in modern day infographics, and the book is a good source of inspiration for designers.
Click some the links above to see more examples of intelligent and inspired visual representations, and original drawing methods written in the early 1900s.