Medical Writing Visual Communications Get your (visual) act together: Optimising the design of labels and arrows in medical illustrations

Volume 29, Issue 1 - Visual Communications

Get your (visual) act together: Optimising the design of labels and arrows in medical illustrations

Abstract

There is an enhanced communicating power of text when associated with visuals. This is a compelling argument for furnishing medical writers with basic knowledge on how to adapt and create simple figures. This  article discusses tips on adding labels and arrows to preexisting illustrations. These elements are fundamental components of scientific figures and should be consistent and designed from the start. By properly adjusting the alignment, style, and negative space of labels and arrows it is possible to convey further meaning and enhance the reading flow of figures.

Download the full article

References

  1. Houts PS, Doak CC, Doak LG, Loscalzo MJ. The role of pictures in improving health communication: a review of research on attention, comprehension, recall, and adherence. Patient Educ Couns. 2006;61(2):173–90.
  2. Holsanova J, Holmberg N, Holmqvist K. Reading information graphics: The role of spatial contiguity and dual attentional guidance. Appl Cognit Psychol. 2009;23(9):1215–26.
  3. Holsanova J, Rahm H, Holmqvist K. Entry points and reading paths on newspaper spreads: comparing a semiotic analysis with eye-tracking measurements. Vis Commun. 2006;5(1):65–93.
  4. Knobloch S, Hastall M, Zillmann D, Callison C. Imagery effects on the selective reading of Internet newsmagazines. Communic Res. 2003;30(1):3–29.
  5. Delp C, Jones J. Communicating information to patients: the use of cartoon illustrations to improve comprehension of instructions. Academic Emergency Medicine. 1996;3(3):264–70.
  6. McCabe DP, Castel AD. Seeing is believing: The effect of brain images on judgments of scientific reasoning. Cognition. 2008;107(1):343–52.
  7. Creative Commons. 2019 [cited 2019 Dec 3]. Available from: https://creativecommons.org/about/.
  8. Krzywinski M. Points of view: Labels and callouts. Nat Methods. 2013;10(4):275.
  9. Vollick I, Vogel D, Agrawala M, Hertzmann A. Specifying label layout style by example. Proceedings of the 20th annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology; 2007 Oct 7–10; Newport, Rhode Island, USA: ACM.
  10. Oeltze-Jafra S, Preim B. Survey of labeling techniques in medical visualizations. Proceedings of the 4th Eurographics Workshop on Visual Computing for Biology and Medicine; 2014 Sep 3-5; Vienna, Austria: Eurographics Association.
  11. Wood P. Scientific illustration: A guide to biological, zoological, and medical rendering techniques, design, printing, and display. 2nd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons; 1994.
  12. Sawchuk K, Woolridge N, Jenkinson J. Illustrating medicine: Line, luminance and the lessons from JCB Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy (1943). Vis Commun. 2011;10(3):442–68.
  13. Hunnicutt BJ, Krzywinski M. Points of view: Pathways. Nat Methods. 2016;13(1):5.
  14. Wong B. Points of view: arrows. Nat Methods. 2011;8(9):701.

Search

Articles

Editorial
EMWA News
President's Message
Medical illustration in the 21st century and beyond
Visualisations in science communication: Friend or foe?
How and why it works: The principles and history behind visual communication
Get your (visual) act together: Optimising the design of labels and arrows in medical illustrations
A picture is worth a thousand words
The evolution of the scientific poster: From eye-sore to eye-catcher
Leveraging infographics in study schemas
Enhancing accessibility of study data: The development of a graphical abstract for lay summaries of clinical trial results
Connecting medical writers in Portugal through visual communication
Clinical trial design: Considerations for medical writers developing clinical trial protocols
Planting a “non-biological” seed – will this meme persist?
Regulatory Matters
News from the EMA
Journal Watch
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Veterinary Medical Writing
Good Writing Practice
Medical Writing Humour
Out on our Own

Member Login

Links

The Write Stuff Archive Contact Instructions for Authors Article Template (Word) Journal Policies

Editoral Board

Editor-in-Chief

Raquel Billiones

Co-Editors

Evguenia Alechine

Jonathan Pitt

Managing Editor

Victoria White

Deputy Managing Editor

Alicia Waltman

Associate Editors

Anuradha Alahari

Jennifer Bell

Clare Chang

Barbara Grossman

Joselita T. Salita

Amy Whereat

Section Editors

Nicole Bezuidenhout 

Digital Communication

Somsuvro Basu

EMWA News       

Aurélie Gobet / Paolo Rega

Gained in Translation

Raquel Billiones

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Wendy Kingdom / Amy Whereat

Good Writing Practice

Alison McIntosh / Stephen Gilliver

In the Bookstores

Maria Kołtowska-Häggström

Lingua Franca and Beyond

Phil Leventhal

Manuscript Writing

Lisa Chamberlain-James

Medical Communications/Writing for Patients

Namrata Upadhyay

Medical Devices

Evguenia Alechine

My First Medical Writing

Anuradha Alahari

News from the EMA

Laura Kehoe

Out on Our Own

Jennifer Clemens

Regulatory Matters

Sam Hamilton

Regulatory Public Disclosure

Claire Gudex

Teaching Medical Writing

Kimi Uegaki

The Crofter: Sustainable Communications

Karim Montasser

Veterinary Writing

Editors Emeritus

Elise Langdon-Neuner

Phil Leventhal

Lay out Designer

Chris Monk