Graphical Style Guide for Scientific Communication

A style guide as a pedagogical vehicle for clarifying design decisions as well as helping scientists with instructions for generating visualizations.

During the summer and fall 2017, Isabel Meirelles collaborated with Dr. Arturas Petronis and his scientific team at the Krembil Family Epigenetics Laboratory, CAMH. Isabel lead a design team that included a co-PI (Angela Norwood) and two undergraduate research assistants in a two-phase project. In the first phase, the design team stylized and refined a set of charts for reproduction in an article published on Nature Communications 9: 644 (2018) - click here to read.  

The work was conducted based on data visualization best practices, general principles of graphic design and visual perception. In the second phase, the design team devised a graphical style guide specifying systems and conventions for continuous use by the scientific research team. While the main goal of the guide is to provide guidance for designing effective charts, it also works as a pedagogical vehicle for clarifying design decisions. The project was presented in October 2017 at the international peer-review conference  IDXVII VisionPlus, organized by IIID—International Institute for Information Design.


Isabel Meirelles is a designer and educator whose intellectual curiosity lies in the relationships between visual thinking and visual representation. She is a Professor in the Faculty of Design and a researcher in the Visual Analytics Lab at OCAD University, Toronto, Canada. In addition to collaborating with scientists and humanists in the development of visualization systems, Isabel’s research focuses on the examination of the fundamentals underlying how information is structured, represented and communicated in different media. Current research interests include extending graphical literacy to scientific disciplines, especially in the process of externalizing knowledge and communicating findings. Meirelles is the author of “Design for Information: An introduction to the histories, theories, and best practices behind effective information visualizations” (Rockport, 2013).

Friday, June 15, 2018 - 10:45am
Lab Member: 
Isabel Meirelles