Emotion within Isotypes

Isotype, the International System of Typographic Picture Education, is a method of showing connections within pictorial form: “Words Divide, Pictures Unite”. The Isotype method was patented by Otto Neurath who was a Viennese philosopher, economist and social scientist.

We were tasked to create/mimic emotions using 3 basic geometrical shapes; a triangle, square and circle using the three primary colours; red, yellow and blue. Here are my outcomes:


afraid (of the dark)
Afraid (of the dark)

Afraid mimicked a fear that many people relate to; the dark. The red triangle represents a scared individual walking home on a dark (blue) night. I overlapped the circles to create a half moon effect rather than it just being a circle as I believe you are able to get more from the image this way.


This resembles anger/annoyance. The big red slanted square represents authority whereas the small blue square resembles fear/timidity, almost like a parent shouting at their child when they’ve done something wrong, or had ‘forgotten’ to do the washing up.


Bored. This is a reflection, of a triangle looking out of the window to look at it’s peers enjoying friendship/sunshine.


Ought to be mimicking the sea, when I think about being calm I think of the sea and waves. So, I created this using several blue squares.


Daring (to be different)

Daring was about the norm. If you think about it, society today is very much about trend setters and trend followers. I wanted to depict this so I chose a line of yellow triangles whom all look the same (following the crowd) and one red triangle whom is daring to be different (the trend setter).


I like to reflect on real world issues within my projects and on the 9th of November, Donald Trump was elected the President of the United States of America. How there hasn’t been a war, I don’t know. However, during his campaigns he spoke about how he wanted to build a wall that separated the US from Mexico. This is the direct link between my artefact and the ‘politics’. The blue squares stacked represents a wall and the singular triangle represents Mexico being an outcast on the typical nuclear family America are known for. However, the sun is on Mexico’s side of the wall because America have Donald Trump as their president so they’re in for a long, dark period.


This reflects on childhood. ‘What makes you happy?’ is the question I was answering and when I was little I loved Disney films. So, the Mickey shape represents happiness stemming from my childhood.


Dreams and aspirations; that was my inspiration for this piece. Created using several yellow circles, everybody has an idea of what they hope their future is going to turn out like and I thought out of the three colours, yellow best represented this as it’s a happy colour.


Red symbolises anger, paid and anguish. When you hut, you really hurt and I wanted to represent this. So I used a square to fill the entire page and filled it red. I think this is a powerful statement and it really makes an impact.

Hyper (sensitive)

When I think of hyper I think of erratic behaviour, and the only way I could depict this was by having each shape looking like it was thrown onto the page in any random order. I really like this because I think out of all my pieces, this is one that truly represents the idea behind it.


Being on your own is one of the scariest realities you can ever come across, something I can emphathise with after moving 300 miles away from everybody I know to be thrown into the realm of having nobody and nothing. For this piece I wanted to make the person looking at it feel something, reflect on that sense of being a small dot in a big world. It’s truly terrifying and I felt that this piece really achieved what I set out.


Similar to lonely, yet completely different. I used a different shape to emit a different feeling, like being stuck in the corner because you don’t know where to go; you’re lost.



This one is simple. Using two circles and a triangle I made the most notable feeling known to man, and woman; love. Not the most creative, but definitely the most universally recognisable.


Using a simple colour scheme and the use of two shapes, this is lust. Personifying the circles to be human beings and using red triangles to symbolise over hearts, I think this image definitely symbolises the word. I was surprised how using a simple colour scheme worked so well, during the process I was a little unsure but I think the outcome worked extremely well.


A teardrop; the depiction of sadness. Created using a blue circle and a triangle, simple yet powerful.


When thinking of  how to show shy within shapes I couldn’t really pinpoint anything. Emotions like sad and love are easy as they have a pinnacle relation to something i.e a tear drop and a heart, but this is different. The only thing I could think of was hiding, and then I had the idea of maybe a child hiding behind a parental figure, so this is what I came up with. The two yellow triangles represent parental figures and the smaller red triangle represents a timid child hiding behind it’s parents as it’s shy. A bit of a stretch, I must admit, but that was my idea behind it.


Similar to daring, this piece again used yellow and red triangles. The yellow triangles are going towards the right as they all know the direction in which they’re supposed to be going, but the red one isn’t sure, and is facing the opposite way showing that they’re confused. I really like this piece. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe because it’s relatable, or maybe because it’s a nice design. Either way, I’m not too sure.



When you read a book, the author sometimes uses an ellipsis to show emotion, or to leave you on a cliffhanger. Either way, both of these symbolise confusion to me. ‘Why did they finish the book like that?’ ‘What was going to happen next…’ would be the immediate thought process in my mind, and I thought this was a good way to show surprise through isotypes.


Tense. Pressure. Immediately I thought of intimidation, and I again used the triangles to mimic humans. Red is an intimidating colour, and I thought I should place this at the front, and maybe have two smaller yellow triangles behind. This shows a tense situation, almost as though it’s building up. The use of smaller yellow triangles almost looks as though they’re distanced in the background, and the red triangle in the foreground is intimidating, creating a tense situation.


Probably my least favourite of the isotypes, I used the personification technique again by using a yellow circle to represent a person and red triangles to represent Z’s, almost like it’s sleeping. I don’t think this was as effective as the rest of my images, but it still works to some degree.

Overall, I was really impressed with this task. It’s amazing how you can illustrate things with limited artistic freedom, yet it still work very well. If anything I think this lesson was very much inspiring, showing how with a simple idea and development you can make an impact.





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