Iconography in Healthcare

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in All, Design | No Comments

I enjoy creating graphic design solutions for the life sciences industry. The challenges are not very different than other industries. The healthcare and life sciences industry has a lot of research based data that needs to be shared with their target audience in a direct and easy to understand fashion. I find that creating designs with simple graphics, minimalistic themes, while carefully considering the context involved is a good starting point in the overall design strategy.  The target audience is generally stake holders, care givers, patients, scientists, related organizations, researchers, teachers and students.

Healthcare is also the hub of technological advancements and research, and creating graphics that show the technological growth of the field, makes the designs more engaging and relatable. I recently designed a presentation for The Seattle Health Innovators, showcasing the results of their healthcare landscape study. The content consisted of data already represented graphically and I liked the visually simple path they had chosen to present their numbers.

I find simple 2D iconography  an effective strategy in such cases for its directness and distraction free visual appeal. It is like creating a road map without the distraction of trees or traffic on the way. Icons that reflect an intersection between life sciences, technology and communication was my choice of route for this project. Although it is fun and creative to design icons from scratch with original concepts, I think iconography in healthcare works best if the icons are easy to recognize for their meaning. Consider health technology – the icon could either have a quick recall factor due to its common use, or it could have a strong context. An example of the former is microscope icon used for depicting research, and an example of the latter is the icon of a heart rate machine used to show the advancing technology in the field. If people recognize the machine, it’s purpose as an icon in the design will be understood easily.

Simplicity of information design is a must in this industry. I enjoy the process of polishing a design by keeping only those elements that have a purpose adding to the context. Still, how to make the design appealing and not just informative – Use of color and compositional strategy much like designing a graphic storybook can help make it engaging for the brain to look at.



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