Science By Design | Elana Fortin

Scientific institutions and organizations should employ visual designers in their communication efforts.

There is a huge disconnect between the science world and the general public. The abundance of information made easily accessible by the internet works as a double-edged sword, allowing misinformation to quickly disseminate and contributing to a general loss of trust in science, which is reflected in legislation and in the actions of large corporations that have the greatest impact on people and the planet. 

Visual communication design, when effective, is a method of making complex ideas more easily understood, which is essential when communicating scientific information to non-scientists. My Capstone project highlights the potential for visual design to add great value to science communication.

 I designed two final deliverables: a capability brochure and a website. The capability brochure is a print publication that advocates for the abilities of designers in the context of the needs of scientific institutions and organizations. After designing this, I decided it needed to exist in a digital format as well if I actually wanted it to have any impact, so I built it out into a website, which is now live at

My process began with a lot of research, first into the challenges and best practices of science communication, and then into my three lenses: Communication theory, science education, and visual design. Knowing that my audience comes from a scholarly background, I put extra effort towards ensuring that all my information was coming from reputable sources. With my audience in mind, and to further prove the points I was arguing, hierarchy, readability and professionalism were front of mind in every design decision I made, from the brand identity to the final deliverables.