VISUAL STRATEGIES A Practical Guide to Graphics for Scientists and Engineers, by Felice C. Frankel and Angela H. DePace is an indispensable tool for scientists in all disciplines who want to communicate their findings more clearly and effectively.
Graphics—visual representations of data and concepts—are critical components of today’s scientific and engineering research. Images engage readers in ways words cannot. Explanatory graphics clarify or strengthen an argument by guiding readers through complex material. Exploratory graphics draw readers into the research process, allowing them to discover patterns and relationships for themselves.
In the past, research institutions hired specialists to help scientists visually communicate their work. Today, most scientists are responsible for creating their own graphics, yet few are trained in design concepts or graphic skills.
This practical guide sets out clear strategies and offers abundant examples to assist researchers—even those with no previous design training—with creating effective scientific graphics. Visual communications expert Felice Frankel and systems biologist Angela DePace, along with researchers from many different fields, demonstrate how small changes can vastly improve the success of a graphic image. They dissect individual scientific graphics, show why some work while others don’t, and suggest specific improvements. The book analyzes graphics that have appeared in such journals as Science, Nature, Cell, Annual Reviews, PNAS, and the New England Journal of Medicine.
Leading graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, who designed VISUAL STRATEGIES to be practical, easy to use, and visually exciting, provides insight into the process of designing for science in a Q and A interview with authors Frankel and DePace. Prominent researchers from chemistry, materials engineering, biology, physics, astronomy, and other disciplines discuss their own approaches to design problems and explain their real-life solutions from a personal perspective. Stunning before-and-after images offer a window on the creative and often exciting process of refining graphics to enhance the way they convey scientific findings.