On my internet wanderings today, I found myself on the iF Design website, mouth agape as I explored an interactive poster designed by The Science Communication Lab.

Entitled “Explore the Ocean” the poster was designed to allow scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Marine Research to explain complex ocean research and inform and sensitize passengers about the ocean as an ecosystem of global importance on board the new expedition ships of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. The poster is a multi-sensory feast, combining detailed 3D animations and extensive data visualisations to explain problems and processes in the world’s oceans in a clearly comprehensible way. An audio commentary provides additional insights, making it easy for viewers to study the poster without an expert talking them through the poster, which is divided into four chapters and 15 episodes.

The end result is an experiential deep-dive into fascinating research. And if it all feels a bit too much in one go, that’s okay: it’s the kind of poster that viewers will want to return to time-and-again to play, learn, and wonder.

Obviously, to create an interactive, multi-sensory poster like this requires a level of investment – both financial and time – beyond the means of many researchers and institutes. It’s still worthwhile exploring the poster to see what design principles and science communication approaches could be adapted to help you communicate your research visually in a poster or perhaps even in a visual that accompanies a blog post or presentation. Beautiful, rich graphics; data visualisations that make sense (even to the uninitiated!); consistent use of colours, fonts and layouts; and the “Goldilocks Approach” to content (not too little, not too much, just right) are all lessons that we can take away from this poster.

Suzanne Whitby

Suzanne Whitby

Suzanne Whitby is a communication specialist, futurist and sustainability catalyst who believes that science and research matters if we want to co-create hopeful, resilient and sustainable futures. Since 2014, she has been designing and leading communication training and workshops at SciComm Success, and also provides online facilitation and moderation to support organisers of online academic meetings and events.