Brown College Blog

How To Approach Medical Graphic Design Projects

August 30, 2013 General 0 Comments

Medical Graphic Design ProjectsGraphic Design is much more than ad campaigns and user interface designs on the Web.

Technology is continuously impacting new industries in new ways. For example, Healthcare has begun to acknowledge the reach of IT beyond medical instruments. There has been an increased number of Graphic Design professionals finding work in the Healthcare industry. They are the ones responsible for producing:

  • Medical brochures
  • Banners
  • Medical papers and annual reports
  • Medical magazine design
  • Commercial publications
  • Commercial campaigns
  • Logos
  • Books
  • TV and Internet spots
  • Medical product packaging design

Graphic designers work with healthcare facilities and non-profit organizations to share information, spread awareness and even manage medical branding. They can work in print media or with Internet campaigns.

Pablo Ferrero of the design company Flat World Communication sees medical graphic design as a way to “present new advances and services in the field that can improve people’s quality of life and health. At its heart, medical graphic design has become both a communication vehicle and a very powerful medical marketing medium.”

Have you ever considered applying your Graphic Design and Visual Communication skills to the Healthcare industry? Unless you’re specifically interested in medical illustration, the answer is probably not – not many Graphic Design students do consider these types of industries.  In fact, you might even be wary of applying creative skills to such an industry. It is non-traditional and unfamiliar (as far as Graphic Design is concerned).

But, it might be the right industry for you. Consider how London-based graphic designer and blogger E. Zahariades transitioned into the Medical Graphic Design industry and his advice for starting projects in this field:

You’re not working with a “good looking” brand.

According to Zahariades, commercial products are better looking than medical products. Designing ad campaigns for cars, beers and even deodorant is simply easier. Creating advertisements for prescriptions or public service campaigns for diseases is much more difficult.

He says, “You can make pretty much any kind of work look god if you’re working with something that isn’t very serious. But cancer or wet age-related macular degeneration are not good looking diseases. In fact, they are devastating.”

When starting a project, acknowledge this seriousness. It can allow you to apply your Graphic Design skills in a more appropriate and advantageous manner.

Remember your audience.

In some cases, your Medical Graphic Design projects can be directed towards the general population. But, you are primarily trying to communicate a message to an audience of stakeholders, scientists, advocacy organizations, doctors, caregivers and patients.

Recognize that this audience has different needs than a typical, Graphic Design audience. They will react differently to these messages – especially if they are patients and it directly impacts their lives.

Embrace the challenges.

Zahariades argues, “Anyone can make a nice ad for a Prada bag. But in pharmaceuticals, the inherent limitations require us to be even more creative to bring the client’s messages to life.”

In Medical Graphic Design, your work has a clear – and often resounding – purpose. You might have to play by stricter rules in this branch of the industry, but it is because your work can reach much further.

Consider the impact some health-related advertisements have had on you. Anti-smoking commercials have been known to disgust and even scare their viewers. Your work has the power to keep people informed and prevent them from contracting serious diseases.

The Healthcare industry is not necessarily the “coolest” industry when it comes to Graphic Design, notes Zahariades. But you cannot discount it. It is a challenging opportunity for Graphic Design students and it requires a unique type of creativity. If you are interested in working in a completely different area of design, then this might be the right opportunity for you.


What do you think?