From cutting-edge knowledge to clear summaries

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, climate change, micro-pollutants in water supplies, the energy transition, or indeed the epidemiological transition… These are just some of the topics firmly on the global agenda. At key junctures, everybody – the general public, the media, decision-makers – needs a clear synthesis of the over-abundant information on these complex matters. Depending on the target audience and the topic, this synthesis can fit in a few sentences, or take the form of a report, with attractive and informative illustrations always being a key component.

> Antimicrobial Resistancetext and illustrations for a website on antibiotic resistance for bioMérieux.

> National Vaccination Strategy – Short version leaflet and pdf for the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

> CO2 und Klima / Réchauffement climatique (in German and French) Climate change – an animated Internet page summarizing the main expected consequences around the world.

Websites become Internet references

Making a website attractive to search engines requires user-friendly and interactive content, informative graphics (animated if necessary), well organized menus, titles, texts and images. It is also necessary to design the pages so that they can adapt to different screen sizes (a so-called responsive website). Not to mention the “metadata” that describe the site, its pages and their content. And it is of course necessary to keep information up to date and check links to other web sites regularly.
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Infovac.ch (in French, German and Italian) • Communication in Science completely redesigned this vaccination website, now aimed not only at health professionals, but also at the general public. About one hundred icons were created to represent pathogenic microorganisms and their targets: human beings. This website jumped from 1000 visits per day before being redesigned, to over 5000 visits per day.

energie-environnement.ch (in French and German) • Created by Communication in Science to provide more than 500 practical tips to save energy and preserve biodiversity and our living environment. It receives at least 4000 visits per day.

Challenges become means of action

For more than 10 years, we have been developing energie-environnement.ch/energie-umwelt.ch, the official information platform of the cantonal energy and environment departments in Switzerland. Every year, over one million visitors access this website. On google.ch, it often comes out first when looking for information on buildings and energy, the consumption of electrical appliances, waste recycling or many small problems related to everyday life. This success stems from the site offering answers and practical solutions to questions that people ask themselves, instead of providing information that people are not looking for.

Our professional ethics and deontology have always pushed us to favour assignments dealing with environmental or public health issues that require urgent action and/or adaptation. Through our experience combining science, journalism, consulting and graphic design, we strongly hope to make contributions that will make a difference.

> Swiss Antibiotic Resistance Strategy , web pages describing the implementation of this strategy in the human domain.

> Mixing tap & Co, animated web pages and pdf documents to save heating energy on a daily basis.

> Garden Charter, 10 good gardening and maintenance practices to promote biodiversity in private gardens and public green spaces.

Projects become grants

Obtaining funding, a scholarship or a prize for a project can be considered an art: in particular, the content and format of the project proposal must be adapted to meet the funder’s criteria. But the projects that impress the most at first sight are not necessarily the best. To properly evaluate a project, it is necessary to read between the lines, consult external experts, and grasp its originality and feasibility. The members of Communication in Science have analysed and summarised a large number of projects on behalf of various public and private foundations (Salvia Foundation, Fundacion Biodiversidad, Rolex Institute). We are also able to carry out retrospective impact analyses on funded or award-winning projects.

From research to infographics

Expressing a large quantity of information in a single illustration requires a deep understanding of the topic, a synthetic vision and a sense for the spatial organisation of graphical elements. We avoid using standard databank images – we produce our own original illustrations tailored to the objectives of each client. We deliver our illustrations in various graphical formats, to ensure their quality in print (CMYK) as well as on screen (RVB).

Production of the experimental VSV-Ebola vaccine
Infographics showing the production technique of the experimental VSV-Ebola vaccine and its associated vaccination protocol (illustration for Geneva University Hospitals, 2015))
antibioresistance-one-health
Diagram showing the main pathways through which antibiotic-resistant bacteria are transmitted (produced for bioMérieux, 2016).

Knowledge becomes a playful experience

A stand, a museum room, an outdoor layout, a temporary exhibition: these are all challenges to be met in order to convey a scientific message. At the same time, it is necessary to offer the public playful and interactive aspects, without betraying the scientific and technical content.

Lighted vault to present the course of the sun
“Illumination on kilowatt-hours”, design and assistance in the creation of a permanent room for the Electrobroc Museum in canton Fribourg, where the public can familiarize themselves with the world of electricity – and in particular with the consumption of electrical appliances and the quality of lighting (2018)
exp'air, interactive police investigation into air pollutants
EXP’AIR, creation of a communication concept around a “police investigation” game to explain air pollutants and their dangers to secondary school students. Designed for the State of Geneva, in collaboration with Studio KO (2012)
Interactive exhibition Journey into an inland sea, relive the adventure of fertilization
“Journey to an inland sea”, an interactive exhibition to bring to life the various stages of fertilization in humans – from ovulation to implantation of the embryo in the uterus. Intended for the general public, the exhibition begins with an ovary lottery: ovum, or no ovum? Created for Serono, in collaboration with a contemporary artist and a theatre designer (2001)
Scientific instruments
Design of a set of large measurement instruments to be operated by the public, for the Museum of the History of Sciences (Geneva). These instruments are inspired by the collection housed in the museum. This sundial sphere is a model designed by René Béguin (2000).

Future challenges become educational material

It is particularly important to inform the youngest members of society in an attractive way about the most urgent challenges that we face. A problem understood early in life may generate responsible behaviour for a long time.

> “Eaux là là! Water all around!?” • Brochure (pdf) on the water cycle, for secondary school students, designed to be easily printable by schoolteachers.

> “Water is life” • Teaching suggestions for teachers, so they can approach water management as a topic in multiple ways and according to various school levels.

> “Waste-Visits” • 6 large animated infographics, designed to be beamed on school walls, to discover the operation of sewage treatment plants, waste processing plants, etc.

From technical diagrams to animated web pages

Technical drawings are not for old-fashioned textbooks. They remain essential to understand how complex systems work. To make them easier to understand, some of the elements can be animated.

Solar thermal collector heats water for tap water and domestic heating
How a solar thermal collector heats water for tap water and domestic heating. Left: when the sun shines, there is enough energy and the boiler is off. Right: when clouds cover the sun, the boiler must turn on to compensate for the missing heat. >energie-environnement.ch
Composting plant and the organic waste cycle
Animated diagram showing the operation of a composting plant and the organic waste cycle. >energie-environnement.ch
An overview of the main elements that influence the comfort felt in a home or office
An overview of the main elements that influence the comfort felt in a home or office. >energie-environnement.ch
Louis Pasteur
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895). Animated illustration derived from an old engraving.

From key messages to symbolic images

A picture is worth a thousand words! Issues about public health or the environment can often be summed up using a couple of key images, which will inspire and help the public to understand.

4 glasses of water showing the problem of micropollutants
Many of our daily activities result in pollutants seeping into water supplies. We created these pictures to raise awareness about the issue of micro-pollutants in drinking water – to help people understand that what goes down the sink or into the WC may come back through the water tap…

> Micro-pollutants

> About our Planet Earth

A problem becomes a story

To deliver a scientific message that aims at inducing behaviour change, all forms of communication must be considered. For example, an illustrated story for children can deliver a message that is both pedagogical and full of moral values, which may not be welcomed by readers in a more formal article.

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Greenhouse gases and climate change have been condensed into an educational tale aimed primarily at young audiences. But adults can also read the story….. >Le bocal de M. Redfish (pdf)

> Tales of the Earth, 24 educational tales on energy, the environment and biodiversity.