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Centre for Innovation Technology & Organisation Session

  • Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2017
  • Time: 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Venue: Room Q233 Lochlann Quinn School of Business
  • Location: Room Q233 Lochlann Quinn School of Business

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The next Centre for Innovation Technology and Organisation (CITO) session on “Herbert Bayer’s 1953 World Geo-Graphic Atlas: Bauhaus-influenced Infographics” by professor Francis Harvey, Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig, Germany. Abstract and bionote are provided below.


Herbert Bayer’s (1900-1985) was a student then instructor at the Bauhaus in Germany, known then and later for design and art work with important impacts on modernist typography, graphic design and art and architecture. He led work conceptual and graphic work on an atlas that this paper considers more closely, the World Geo-Graphic Atlas (1953), moving atlas design to an exhibition orientated approach. This atlas rests in concepts and experiences acquired, developed and refined during his time at the Bauhaus in the 1920s. His successful career beginning with graphical design for exhibitions and in advertising in Germany laid the foundation for work in the USA after immigrating there in 1938. There he worked further on art, advertising, exhibits, architecture, land art and was a key figure in the development of the Aspen Institute. For this atlas he drew heavily on his graphic design acumen and his rich experiences with modernist exhibition design concepts and advertising, epitomized in the 1943 exhibition, Airways to Peace at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The World Geo-Graphic Atlas stood out when published, and arguably still stands out, in its successful integration of various forms of graphical communication extending a territorial framework of world atlases to engage and deepen understanding of complex relationships in the world, better comprehend the importance of resources and grasp planet earth’s and our place in the cosmos. It utilizes topographic maps, concise textual narration, tables, pictograms, thematic maps, artwork and then unconventional layouts with modernist graphic techniques including techniques from Otto Neurath and the Russian constructivists, as well as color schemas from Josef Albers. In this presentation I suggest Bayer's approach exemplifies modernist design concepts crystallized around an infographics approach that helps understand the complex intensities rather than just the extents of processes on our planet.


Francis Harvey is Professor for Visual Communication in Geography at the University of Leipzig, Germany and Director of the Section Cartography and Visualization in Geography at Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, also in Leipzig Germany. Previously he worked as an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society at the University of Minnesota, USA since 2001, at the University of Kentucky, USA, University of Leicester, UK, and École Polytechnique Fèderal de Lausanne, Switzerland. He also has held several visiting faculty positions in Poland and Germany. His research addresses a range of central issues for Geographic Information Science and cognate fields including visualization, semantics, interoperability, overlay algorithms, institutional aspects, cadastral issues, and practical ethics for teaching. His book A Primer of GIS (Guilford Press, second edition forthcoming) covers the use of evolving geographic information technologies and is widely used for undergraduate and graduate level courses in the USA and internationally. Currently he is chair of the International Geographical Union Commission on Geographical Information Science.

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