The state of visual media in research

Mockup cover and inside spread of Patton'd Studios' Design Integration Assessment Report against a purple background.
For a long time, we have help firm that good science communication, begins with great visual media in research. To us here at Patton'd Studios, that means consistent, top-quality imagery across all platforms.

Whether it’s presentations, reports, websites, social media – everything needs to be telling a part of a larger story that communicates information effectively and inspires other parties to get on board so we can all move forward together. This is especially important for science research as it lies at the beginnings of the innovation pipeline.

Why good visual communication leads to better research translation

Poor communication of ideas and potential for translation creates stagnation in this pipeline, slowing the commercialisation process and preventing great research from being transformed into real-world solutions.

The reality is today’s problems are complicated. Every solution needs to tick boxes across functionality, user-friendliness, sustainability, cost-effectiveness – the list goes on. Having to consider all these factors is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it does mean that problems are becoming too big and too complex to be solved by one industry [in this case, science] alone. The best solutions require input from all different perspectives, experiences, and expertise to ensure they are relevant and long-term fixes to some of today’s biggest issues.

This places huge pressure on researchers to present research and its potential clearly and effectively. Historically, the quality of visual media in science research has been wide-ranging. From the beautiful anatomical sketches and incredibly composed micrography, to unreadable graphs and diagrams that leave everyone scratching their heads. Because of this, we wanted to know how we could assist, in producing useful visual media for science research.

We’ve endeavoured to better understand people’s attitudes towards design as a tool to advance science communication efforts and enterprise greater translation of fundamental research into new and impactful solutions. 

Presenting our Design Integration Assessment Report

Our Design Integration Assessment Report (​DIAR) has been published as a whitepaper under Patton’d Studios and is freely accessible via the download link below.


The 164 volunteers from academia, industry and government gave their insight on the current state of visual media in research; which from of visual media they felt was most valuable; how they would like to see visuals media improved and what barriers they foresee that could prevent such improvements.

It was clear that collaboration and outreach were areas considered the most in need of a visual media overhaul. This could be due to shifting KPI’s set by university from publishing papers to more industry-related outcomes. The increasing spread of misinformation on social media was also flagged as a potential trigger for wanting better visual media.

The need for more funding was also highlighted in multiple sections; being the primary barrier to engaging designers and other professionals who could alleviate a lot of the added pressures researchers face.

It was positive to see that a vast majority of respondents were very open to hearing more about how they can help integrate design – especially in relation to developing research translation programs that cultivate a self-sustaining system for innovation.

Want to know more about the impact of design in science?​

We have a workshop for that! Sign up below, or via the link on our home page to gain direct access to our free 30-minute design workshop on the dual impact of design and how it is so much more than polished imagery.

And, if you’re interested in us becoming your forever creative collaborator, feel free to book a free 30 minute consult with our head creative to help you get the ball rolling on your next project – we can’t wait to work with you!


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