Ideas and discoveries in science and technology shape the way we live and work, often without us even realizing it. They can significantly improve our health and standard of living, or they can cause harm to people and the environment if we don’t understand how they work or what their limitations are. To ensure that society benefits from science, it’s important to communicate what scientists are doing, why they’re doing it, and what their results mean. Here are three ways graphic design can help scientists better reach out to the public.
There are many opportunities for scientists to getting their work communicated broadly, but there’s no doubt that having an online presence is crucial nowadays. Having a good website is perhaps the first step on that path. A good website that is attractive and informative will entice people to learn more about what you do. A good website should also have sections tailored to specific audiences. For example it might have a section for policy makers, another for peers, and a section dedicated specifically to the general public.
Scientists need to be careful in their public presentations of scientific knowledge. Science is imperfect, and sometimes it doesn’t provide clear answers about what is happening in our world. That doesn’t mean scientists should be afraid to talk about what they don’t know—in fact, they need to do so if they want people to trust on what they do know. We have to keep in mind that sharing knowledge with others is a way of helping them make better decisions—for themselves and for society as a whole. Graphic designers can help in creating good visualizations of scientific results tailored to specific audiences. A designer can also create presentation templates that will make a presentation more organized and understandable.
Producing content on social media, blogs or youtube also help disseminate knowledge outside of little circles. But one thing I have noticed is that scientists are not so good at creating something readable and interesting for someone who does not know much about their topic. Scientists are usually so focused on their research that they forget that their language isn't appropriate for a larger audience. This is why it is important to let communicators and designers try to make scientific message more accessible to a broader group. Graphic designers, storytellers, and content managers can help scientists plan their social media content, so that the scientific communication gets smoothly to the target audience.