The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (Municipal Museum of The Hague) manages the extensive archive of the graphic designer Gerd Arntz (1900-1988). The archive includes thousands of pictorial symbols and visual statistics. Over the past years there has been much interest in the archives and people from all over the world regularly visit the Gemeentemuseum to carry out research on Arntz’s work.
The files containing the original pictorial symbols and visual statistics glued by Arntz himself and the original linocuts of the pictorial symbols have now been digitized by the Memory of the Netherlands. The digital collection of more than 7000 items provides a source of information on the origin of modern visual statistics.
Every single pictorial symbol designed by Arntz is a powerful and timeless image and the images are unique in that they are recognized the world over and universally understood. Arntz’s symbols or modifications thereof are still used as pictograms on, for example, sign posts and product information. Think of the image of the man and woman often found on restroom doors or the picture of a glass on moving boxes (Fragile: handle with care!).