EMBL’s Design Team Lead on translating scientific discoveries into visual designs
Tabea Rauscher has led EMBL’s Design team for the past two years. As well as helping scientists find inspiring ways to present their research, she’s working to build a more consistent visual identity for EMBL as a whole. Here she reflects on the process of applying design-led thinking to scientific concepts.
Why is it that humans feel so connected to visual cues when explaining or understanding complex concepts?
Research has shown that people remember approximately 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see. Our eyes are so good that we can grasp a visual scene in less than one-tenth of a second. My job is to make sure that people understand complex content. There is a responsibility for every designer to make sure the correct message is conveyed. As visual input generates emotions in us, we always need to be careful about how these images are perceived within a cultural and social context. There is this idiom: a picture is worth a thousand words. And that is what I want to make sure I achieve, with every visual I create.
EMBL is Europe’s flagship laboratory for the life sciences. Established in 1974 as an intergovernmental organisation, EMBL is supported by over 20 member states. EMBL performs fundamental research in molecular biology, studying the story of life. The institute offers services to the scientific community; trains the next generation of scientists and strives to integrate the life sciences across Europe. EMBL is international, innovative and interdisciplinary. Its more than 1700 staff, from over 80 countries, operate across six sites in Barcelona (Spain), Grenoble (France), Hamburg (Germany), Heidelberg (Germany), Hinxton (UK) and Rome (Italy). EMBL scientists work in independent groups and conduct research and offer services in all areas of molecular biology. EMBL research drives the development of new technology and methods in the life sciences. The institute works to transfer this knowledge for the benefit of society.