communication for the real world


The Amsterdam LIG examines Isotypes in Utrecht

On a recent Saturday, the Amsterdam LIG went to an exhibit at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht that was part of a series of events celebrating the second biennial for social design ( The exhibit was in two parts. One part was Lovely Language: Words divide, images unite, about the Isotype pictogram series created early in the 20th century by the Austrian educator and philosopher Otto Neurath in cooperation with the German graphic artist Gerd Arntz. The second part was A Safe Place: Pictograms for disaster areas, a series of image-signs to help populations in disastrous situations. Of course, technical communicators do this kind of work all the time; try to make concepts transparently and instantly recognizable. We often use simple pictures to make things clear. Across the exhibit we were struck by the sense of the grammar and syntax of pictograms, and the need for localisation. A picture says a thousand words, but those words might be different to a person in a culture removed from our own.

February 7, 2008  

News from the Amsterdam LIG – Get Lit!


News from the Amsterdam LIG – get lit!

Several of us here in the Noord-Holland region of The Netherlands got together 15-20 May 2007 at the Amsterdam Literary Festival. We met writers working in various fields and talked about the art and business of writing. Now in its third year, the festival has become an annual event by and for writers in northern Europe. Several major language groups and cultural points-of-view were represented this year with events in American English, British English, Indian English, Dutch, Flemish (which is Belgian Dutch) and German. It was refreshing to meet with and discuss writing with people on the front lines of other parts of the writing industry: journalists, playwrights, novelists, broadcasters, conceptual literary artists working in multimedia, and poets. We were exhilarated by the cross-industry contact. Zesty!

May 21, 2007  

The Amsterdam LIG looks artfully towards the Trans-EU competition

This year’s trans-European technical publications competition is currently underway without a single Dutch entry. Come on, Holland!

The competition awards event is in Paris at the beginning of February. It is scheduled to coincide gracefully with the France chapter’s annual conference. We’ll be there!

The Amsterdam LIG is a very pleasant network of writers, editors, and graphic designers. We meet ad hoc, usually monthly. Our last meeting was to attend Museum Night on 4 November 2006 in Amsterdam. Forty museums opened their doors until 2 am with special events, a carnival atmosphere on the streets, and art lovers of all ages thronging. Blessed with good weather and a bright full moon, we bicycled to several venues and soaked up a lot of autumnal atmosphere. I don’t think we talked much about technical communication. But we benefited from it everywhere we went with excellent instructions, research pamphlets, and sign posts.

November 29, 2006  

Amsterdam Local Interest Group

looking up at beech tree

The Amsterdam local interest group (AmLIG) is an ad hoc group of writers and editors who meet occasionally in Amsterdam. Want us to come to your event? Want to meet up with us and talk shop? Use an appropriate subject line in the contact form.

November 1, 2006  

News from the Amsterdam LIG

Without any real planning or forethought, writers in the Amsterdam area have been massing regularly to talk shop, compare strategies, have a borrel (a wicked shot of Dutch courage called Jenever), and occasionally attend meetings of other writers’, editors’, and translators’ groups in the area. We’ve hooked up with members from SENSE (the Society for English- Native-Speaking Editors), EASE (the European Association of Science Editors), NUJ NL (the National Union of Journalists, Netherlands Branch), and STIC (Dutch STC look-alike, the Studiekring voor Technische Informatie en Communicatie).

Among other things, we’ve discussed the Region 2 Conference (London, October 2006) and Forum 2007 (Amsterdam, June 2007). There is a lot of positive buzz and professional excitement building for these two events. We believe that these events will set a level of professional expectation and a tone that will resonate for the next several years. We plan to be there for one or both of them; to add our voices to the ongoing conversation, and to be informed.

Meeting colleagues and professional neighbours outside the office is always invigorating. Gathering as keen STC members on an ad hoc basis (even as we have been doing, without any real agenda) is a way to stay current and to keep the underlying discourse lively during a normal working week. Writers of all stripes come to our Amsterdam LIG in Amsterdam. If you are in the area, we welcome you.

Websites of interest

June 26, 2006