Visual Strategies: A Practical Guide to Graphics for Scientists and Engineers

September 4, 2012
Author:
Felice C. Frankel, Angela H. DePace
Publisher:
Yale University Press (5/29/2012)

Any scientist or engineer who communicates research results will immediately recognize this practical handbook as an indispensable tool. The guide sets out clear strategies and offers abundant examples to assist researchers — even those with no previous design training — with creating effective visual graphics for use in multiple contexts, including journal submissions, grant proposals, conference posters, or presentations.

Visual communicator Felice Frankel and systems biologist Angela DePace, along with experts in various fields, demonstrate how small changes can vastly improve the success of a graphic image. They dissect individual graphics, show why some work while others don’t, and suggest specific improvements. The book includes analyses of graphics that have appeared in such journals as Science, Nature, Annual Reviews, Cell, PNAS, and the New England Journal of Medicine, as well as an insightful personal conversation with designer Stefan Sagmeister and narratives by prominent researchers and animators.

Editorial Reviews

“In this technoscientific century, with knowledge doubling every decade, researchers and designers alike need to ramp up their presentation of the material they describe. This beautifully illustrated book shows how.”—Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology, Harvard University

“Anyone—scientist or not–who is interested in using pictures to teach, to convey information, or to catch attention must study this book. It is splendid. In it you learn: what information can be conveyed graphically, how to design images for maximum intelligibility and interest, how to draw in the reader, and what successful images look like. As a bonus, you get a cheerfully readable style, you learn about some extremely interesting research, you see how some very good researchers, drawn from across science, think about what they do in terms of images, and you have the pleasure of a brilliantly laid out book.”—George M. Whitesides, Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, Harvard University (George M. Whitesides 20111003)

“…unique…an essential guide to literacy for fields that are essential to all our lives.”—Steven Heller, School of Visual Arts

“Scientists presenting even simple data to busy journal readers are well advised to invest some thought in their visual comprehensibility and impact. This unique book provides exactly what they need: copious case studies across the disciplines, wise principles and the authors’ outstanding creativity, experience and integrity – in both technical and ethical senses – in visualizing the results of science.”—Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief, Nature

“This guide is the first book to be exclusively dedicated to providing direct advice on how to improve scientific graphics through actual examples. In this way Visual Strategies is among a handful of resources and comprises a valuable, important, and useful guide for scientists, illustrators, and data designers alike.”—Cell

About the Authors

Felice C. Frankel is a research scientist in the Center for Materials Science and Engineering at MIT and the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her work in visual communication. Among her previous books is Envisioning Science: The Design and Craft of the Science Image. Angela H. DePace is an assistant professor in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, where her lab studies the mechanism and evolution of gene regulation.  They both live in Boston. Stefan Sagmeister, a leading graphic designer and typographer, has a design firm in New York City.