Reading through yesterday’s paper (Kathimerini, Greek newspaper) I came across an article advertising the reissue of a book written in 1947 by Konstantinos Doksiadis, named “The sacrifices of Greece in the second world war”, accounting the losses in various fields of the Greek country and economy, measured in the aftermath of WWII. In this book Doksiadis uses data visualization techniques to draw the image of post-war Greece.
Copying from the article “Graphic design innovation and History”, the four-language book “was the result of a great effort that lasted from May 1941 up until the liberation of Greece (1944) conducted by architect and urban planner Konstantinos Doksiadis. Tables, diagrams and pictures show the effects that WWII and the Occupation of Greece had on the country, on its people, on its resources, on its infrastructure, etc.”
Apart from the obvious historical value of such an oeuvre, this book is also praised for Doksiadis’s innovative way of visualizing the findings of his survey.
Copying again from the article, “Assistant professor of New York School for Design, architect Ioanna Theocharopoulou, believes that since the book in question was to be addressed to an international audience, it was clear that Doksiadis and his partners were searching for ways to make their survey material reach out to as many people as possible. ‘We assume that they looked into the work of political economist and sociologist Otto Neurath (1882-1945)’ ”
Otto Neurath developed ISOTYPE (International System of TYpographic Picture Education) “a method of showing social, technological, biological and historical connections in pictorial form. It was first known as the Vienna Method of Pictorial Statistics.“ (Wikipedia.org) In the words of the architect Kostas Tsiampaos, “it is a graphic method of rendering information, a system of visualization of statistical data which helps the immediate comprehension and at the same time an easy way to make things memorable”.
Quoting Ioanna Theocharopoulou: “Doksiadis’s project does not reproduce the proposed symbols of Neurath. It is based on them, treating similar ideas in new ways. Much like the ISOTYPE diagrams of Neurath, the diagrams of Doksiadis’s book were not sketches of specific items. They rather express a general category of these specific items and artifacts. For exemple, in order to visualize the loss of agricultural production we come across sketches of one thematic category: cereal, legumes, tobacco, olive, fruit”
Below are some pictures drawn from the book.
“Konstantinos A. Doksiadis – Texts, Sketches, Settlements”, Aleksandros-Andreas Kirtsis, IKAROS 2006