Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department, University Medical Center Groningen


Researchers at the University Medical Center Groningen are working on a novel imaging agent for the detection of solid tumors, which is activated by pH. They needed a figure for their journal article that summarized the way it works.


We gathered the key elements in the process and created a figure for the article. The paper was going to be submitted to the journal Nature Communications, which has a very consistent visual style, so I adapted my style to match that of the journal.

Here is the final image. The article is open access, you can read it in the link below.



 I followed a series of steps that took this project from idea to finished product.


Initially, after I gather all the information from the authors, I like to sketch on paper. This step can be done digitally as well, it's a personal choice.

The goal is to come up with the main layout and make sure that all the key messages are present and follow a logical hierarchy. 

I also make sure that the flow of the image matches the vertical or horizontal orientation we choose, or the one the journal dictates.


Then, with feedback from the authors, I move on to a digital sketch. I refine the layout, add some key ideas that might have been missing and eliminate distracting elements that don't support the main messages. I usually add a bit of color to help the authors get a closer idea of what the final image might look like.


Finally, I incorporate feedback again and clean up the sketch. Most journals have guidelines for image size, font or even word count, so it's important to check often as we move on to the final image.
Nature in particular has a very distinct visual style, so I adapted my illustration to match it as closely as possible.

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