Medical Writing Visual Communications How and why it works: The principles and history behind visual communication

Volume 29, Issue 1 - Visual Communications

How and why it works: The principles and history behind visual communication


"“A picture is worth a thousand words” – a familiar adage, and the reason why newspaper articles are commonly accompanied by photographs and infographics. Scientific publications are no different, so medical writers are frequently asked to contribute to the design of figures and visuals. There is therefore a growing need for medical writers to expand their skills to include designing graphical abstracts, scientific figures, and infographics. This article explains the basis of visual perception and information archi tecture, provides some examples of biomedical information design, and explains how aspects of design theory can be applied to create effective infographics and other visuals.

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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


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Editoral Board


Raquel Billiones


Evguenia Alechine

Jonathan Pitt

Managing Editor

Victoria White

Deputy Managing Editor

Alicia Brooks Waltman

Associate Editors

Anuradha Alahari

Jennifer Bell

Nicole Bezuidenhout

Claire Chang

Barbara Grossman

Sarah Milner

John Plant

Sampoorna Rappaz

Amy Whereat

Section Editors

Daniela Kamir


Jennifer Bell


Nicole Bezuidenhout 

Digital Communication

Somsuvro Basu

EMWA News 

Ana Sofia Correia 

Gained in Translation

Ivana Turek

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Wendy Kingdom / Amy Whereat

Good Writing Practice

Alison McIntosh 

In the Bookstores

Maria Kołtowska-Häggström

Lingua Franca and Beyond

Maddy Dyer


Lisa Chamberlain-James

Medical Communications/Writing for Patients

Payal Bhatia

Medical Devices

Evguenia Alechine

My First Medical Writing

Anuradha Alahari

News from the EMA

Adriana Rocha


Tiziana von Bruchhausen


Clare ChangZuo Yen Lee 

Regulatory Matters

Sam Hamilton

Regulatory Public Disclosure

Claire Gudex

Teaching Medical Writing

Louisa Ludwig-Begall / Sarah Kabani

The Crofter: Sustainable Communications

Louisa Marcombes

Veterinary Writing

Editors Emeritus

Elise Langdon-Neuner

Phil Leventhal

Layout Designer

Chris Monk