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Marie Neurath, isotypes and non-fiction children's publishing

Little, Laura (2022) Marie Neurath, isotypes and non-fiction children's publishing. In: Marie Neurath, 18-21 October 2022, Gesellschafts und Wirtschaftsmuseum, Vienna.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Little, Laura

Developments in children’s publishing and education in the 1940s led to a vibrant children’s non-fiction market in the UK. In 1940, Noel Carrington became the editor of Puffin Books, a newly founded imprint of Penguin which specialised in children’s non-fiction picturebooks. Inspired by Soviet and French children’s books, Puffin’s colour-lithography printed books are recognised for their high-quality editorial, illustration and print values. Puffin Books from the 1940s are still widely available and distinguishable by their distinctive designs. This period formed a significant moment in UK non-fiction children’s publishing, the legacy of which can still be seen today.

While visually very different, Marie Neurath’s non-fiction picturebooks from the 1940s–80s share a similar ethos for high-quality editorial and illustrative content. Describing her work as ‘transformation’ Neurath specialised in conveying complex information with graphic simplicity. Techniques that Neurath pioneered include cross-sections, ‘through the microscope’, and the use of striking, graphically bold shapes combined with a flat colour palette. Although Neurath’s books are scarcer in today’s market, the influence of her pioneering techniques can still be seen in both the wider field of graphic design and in non-fiction children’s books today.

Drawing on examples from the late 1940s, with a science and technology focus, such as If You Could See Inside (1948) and Railways under London (1948) this paper will explore the legacy of Neurath’s non-fiction children’s book design to offer insights into the non-fiction children’s market in the UK and consider its wider cultural and educational benefits.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: October 2022
Event Location: Gesellschafts und Wirtschaftsmuseum, Vienna
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2022 14:01
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2022 14:01
Item ID: 19358
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/19358

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