Here is a little icon I recently designed in Adobe Illustrator to represent the US Border Patrol on a bar chart. The design was inspired by the style of influential designer Marie Neurath (1898-1986). In the course of some recent design work I had read "The transformer: principles of making Isotype charts” (Hyphen Press, 2009), a biography of Otto Neurath and Marie Neurath with essays by Marie on their visual work, called Isotype, a picture language consisting of stylized symbols to represent sociological, economic, and scientific data.
By way of background, Otto Neurath was an Austrian philosopher who set up a graphic design agency in Vienna in the mid-1920’s. The principal designer of this studio was Marie Reidemeister. She used the term “transformer” to describe her design work, i.e., the process of putting information to visual form. In the 1930’s the two fled the rise of Austrian fascism to the Netherlands and later to the UK where they continued their work at Oxford. They married in 1941, when Marie took the last name Neurath. Following Otto’s death in 1945, Marie continued the work of Isotype and was a prolific author until her retirement in 1971.