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Fritz Kahn, infographics pioneer

What is infographics ?

Ordinateur Amiga, par Commodore International, 1987

Computer graphics refers to the creation of computer-aided digital images. Unsurprisingly, it took off in the 1940s, with the development of the computer, thanks to which it gradually became possible to draw lines, add colors, create gradients, etc. are then created, at first rudimentary and then increasingly complex. From the 1990s, thanks to the simplification of digital tools, computer graphics artists, first engineers and designers of graphic tools on computers, were supplanted by a new type of graphic designer: digital artists, graphic designers now able to use computers for visual creations or image processing.

Today, the computer graphics designer is an image and IT specialist, able to use specific software and tools: Computer Aided Design and Publishing (CAD and DTP), vector drawing, image editing. , website creation, production of digital cartoons, colorization of comics, advertising, creation of a visual identity, creation of video games, use of 3D in architecture, animated films and images of synthesis, etc.

More broadly, computer graphics concern any type of explanatory diagram intended to present data or concepts through images. Communicators have always used computer graphics to avoid texts that are too long, off-putting and which fail to capture the public eye. Computer graphics have proven to be a particularly valuable asset in scientific communications, and in particular in the popularization of science. Science is renowned for being a difficult discipline, not accessible to the general public. Popularizing science in order to understand its most complex concepts is therefore a real challenge.

L'usage de métaphores et d'analogies est un passage obligé pour comprendre les mécanismes complexes qui gouvernent notre vie de tous les jours. Et Fritz Kahn l'a bien compris. Dans son ouvrage sur le corps humain intitulé L'Homme comme Palais de l'Industrie (1926), Frtiz transforme le corps humain en usine mécanisée, où tout phénomène biologique trouve une analogie dans l'industrie et la mécanique: les yeux sont apparentés à un appareil photo, les poumons sont faits de tubes de cuivre, l'estomac et l'intestins à des tapis roulants à suspenssions hydrauliques (un bon exercice pour tester notre compréhension de ces concepts pourrait être de moderniser toutes ces comparaisons avec nos technologies actuelles!).

Avant-garde and daring in his choices of analogy, Fritz Kahn has inspired generations of artists and communicators until today. But who is he really?

But who is this Fritz Kahn ?

A German Jewish doctor with a life punctuated by the two world wars, Fritz is part of that generation of unfortunate men and women, born too early or too late, who spent an adult life spanning two world wars.

Like father, like son !

Born in 1888 in Germany to a German Jewish family, his family emigrated to New York quite early for his father's work. They will stay there for about ten years before returning to Germany, to Berlin. The father was himself a doctor and a writer, and as was customary at the time, Fritz set out on the same path as his father.