The Value of Design in Science

Design, News // February 14, 2019

At the 2019 ACES Symposium, founder and creative in chief Molly Patton spoke with attendees about the relationship between science and design and the value design brings to fundamental research. Below is a summary of what she had to say:

Design in science is a really exciting space and it seems to be growing every year.

Last week Patton’d Studios turned 2. In that 2 years I’ve directed over 60 projects – some with teams, some just me. And there’s been so much variety, so many different requests and that’s really helped evolve Patton’d Studios from a photography service into a full spectrum creative agency – the only one in Australia that specifically services the scientific community.

To date, our focus has been on producing media for the visual communication of science, including everything from diagrams, infographics, websites, journal covers, animations – you name it, Patton’d Studios can produce it.

Typically, these visual communication projects reach us at the end phase of the R&D or innovation process, where the project has come to some sort of milestone and a visual is needed – a journal cover is an excellent example of this.

Design can contribute a great deal more than just pretty pictures to science and innovation.

To date, our focus has been on producing media for the visual communication of science, including everything from diagrams, infographics, websites, journal covers, animations – you name it, Patton’d Studios can produce it.

Typically, these visual communication projects reach us at the end phase of the R&D or innovation process, where the project has come to some sort of milestone and a visual is needed – a journal cover is an excellent example of this.

And that’s where we feel there is a bit of a missed opportunity because design is so much more than making media for visual communication; design is a way of thinking.

It’s about problem solving, it’s about being resourceful and thinking outside the box – accounting for not just how new technologies function but also how they assimilate with end users be they a particular industry or company, or members of the wider community.

And to top it off all that, of course we need to make it look great!

As we’ve reached our second birthday milestone, we are reflecting on what has works, what hasn’t and clients have divulged some of their greatest pain points to us – funding being amongst the most common.

So what if, somehow, design could help alleviate this issue either by saving time and costs, costs, or attracting – or both!?

Illustrating the benefits of including design in fundamental research

What if, instead of an additional cost, design could be an investment and deliver even greater returns. Returns which can then be reinvested into this process, to do it all over again with the next project, with less reliance on grants.We believe this is possible and we’re going to be shifting more of our focus in this direction over the coming months to investigate how we might be able to make this a reality. 

Of course, we’d also love your opinion and if you have any thoughts on this you’d like to share with us we’d love to hear them. Get in touch with us or book a call with Molly to have a chat about what design in science looks like for you.

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