This year we all became fluent in the new, universal visual language of Coronavirus.
That spiky little ball, the worrying upwards trajectory of recorded cases, the meaning of two stick figures separated by a double ended arrow...
We have always said that times of uncertainty call for the clarity that good visual communication provides. And so it has proven in 2020. Whether in relation to public health, in news reports or in an effort to help teams understand the impact of the virus on their business, visual communication of critical information has been an important part of the response.Collins Dictionary 2020 Word of the Year campaign
Keeping it simple
The beauty of a well-executed sketchnote is that it takes a wealth of complex information and presents it visually, making the information itself more memorable, shareable and easily understood.
So, in the spring, when the threat of the pandemic was looming large and the volume of vitally important public health information was increasing daily, it was only natural that we should sketchnote it.
Our first sketchnote, on handwashing, became one of our most popular sketchnotes to date, translated into multiple languages and shared widely around the world. We went on to sketchnote the definition of social distancing (as it stood in March, at least), as well as practices for creating corona-safe workplaces, tips on protecting your mental health during lockdown, advice on eco-friendly pandemic living (below), and much more. (All of which can be found in the resources section of our website).
Communicating the science
Using visuals to convey complex scientific ideas has long been a mainstay of our work with collaborator, Oxford Sparks. In April, they asked us to create an animation explaining how scientists go about the vitally important work of modelling and predicting the way in which a new virus will behave. Visual metaphor is so often the key to clear and impactful science communication - after all, we're not all familiar with pathogens and methods of scientific modelling. This animation, which likens the virus to a puzzle to be solved, contributes to important efforts to inform the public about how the pandemic is being tackled.
Clear and concise guidance
Administering the test on yourself or a family member is a far from straight forward procedure for the untrained. Earlier this year, our team produced a set of illustrations to accompany the NHS Covid19 home-testing kits. The clarity of those instructions rested on the quality of our illustrations. Our aim was to simplify an intimidating process, which, at the time of publication, is being carried about by 16,000 people in the UK every day.
Of course, our clients outside of scientific and medical fields have faced significant communication challenges of their own during this time. As the world shifted to working remotely, our digital scribing service has enabled virtual teams to stay connected, ideas to be captured and collaborated on, and events to go ahead. And, the more of these conversations we scribed, the clearer it became that the creation of a shared vision is especially valuable when people cannot physically be and work together. Below is a digitally scribed panel discussions, hosted by Salesforce, for their clients in the travel which, of course, has been hit especially hard this year.