14 Nov

A while back someone gave a destructive critique for a work-in-progress that I shared in a (supposedly) safe space of like-minded people. The thing that stayed with me though wasn't the extensive list of things she decided I did wrong, nor the rules she considered I had broken. It was the very first sentence - the evaluation would not include the scientific content of the infographics (it was not her specialty).

Basically the work was no good because I failed to follow the rules of scientific illustration. Full disclosure: I'm not a professional illustrator. And the work in question was actually in progress. The aim: share facts about sickle cell disease on its awareness month. It started with a scientific art community prompt and included a lot of important information on sickle cell disease that is often not shared with the public.

The episode got me wondering. In any format we choose to communicate with the public the crucial thing is the content. This is my belief. We first and foremost should work on it. After that is settled then, and only then, we choose the best way to convey the message. Yes there are rules of form but quality content is crucial. An unfinished piece (implicitly) needs work - to highlight the fundamentals and wrap up the details.

When (and how) did we get so caught up with "the looks" that we (willingly) forsake the contents? This might explain why misinformation spreads so easily. The way "untruths" are so easily said and taken by people. The looks are captivating, and the "information" so promptly absorbed. In reality, it is an empty vessel. And it comes with a cost that is very difficult to digest.

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