Happily, I’ve had the opportunity to create many figures and illustrations for use in scientific papers.
The process of creating a journal figure begins with understanding the science. This research stage sets the necessary foundation for drafting initial designs. The next step of sketching ideas for how to communicate complex scientific concepts is a fun challenge. There are many limitations to keep in mind, such as constraints set out by the journal, knowledge base of the audience, in addition to visualizing (what are often) abstract ideas!
Journal figures are among my favourite biomedical communications project to do - they’re a great mix of learning, collaboration and design, with a strong communication challenge at their focus. They also have an incredible impact on the dissemination of scientific research!