Sickle Cell Anemia Infographic

Target Audience
Adults with a moderate to high level of scientific knowledge
Deliverables
Infographic
Goals
Educate the reader on the science of sickle cell anemia
Gain experience in 3D software
Project Description
This infographic was a personal passion project for me. I am really intrigued by 3D scientific visualization and I wanted to push myself to learn a new skill on my own.
I chose to create an infographic about sickle cell anemia as it is a well-understood disease with known molecular mechanisms. The hallmark of the disease, sickled erythrocytes, also lends itself very well to interesting imagery for an infographic.
This infographic also serves as a great resource for individuals who have sickle cell anemia to inform them of the intricacies of their condition.

Research

The first step for developing the infographic was to write the content. I compiled review articles and other important publications and highlighted important areas that I wanted to cover in the infographic. I then wrote content based on my reference articles and sent it to be proof-read by a science colleague.

Sketches

I wanted the infographic to feature a main background image with secondary smaller figures throughout. The main imagery is a flow of erythrocytes — the gentle curves and movement of the cells helps guides the reader across the page.

Sketches of the infographic, showing a flow of red blood cells across the page with boxes for text layout.

3D Modeling

Cinema 4D was used to create the imagery in this infographic. As this was a new software for me, I dedicated upwards of 14 hours in learning the program and 20 hours actually designing the 3D models (and adjusting colour, texture, lighting, etc.)

In addition to the main blood cell imagery, supplementary models for sickle hemoglobin polymers, the ring form of Plasmodium falciparum, and the CRISPR-Cas9 complex were created with Cinema 4D. The ePMV plug-in was used to create atomically accurate protein structures of sickle hemoglobin and Cas9.

A screenshot of the Cinema 4D viewport showing a flow of red blood cells on a dark red backdrop.3D renderings of sickle hemoglobin in yellow, the ring form of Plasmodium falciparum in blue, and the Cas9-gDNA complex in yellow and purple.

Challenges

Many iterations were created for the main imagery. I had initially planned to have the blood cells within a blood vessel, but ultimately I felt that having a solid background would allow for greater contrast and readability of the infographic text.

I also struggled with getting the lighting and colour just right — I could spend hours fiddling with these settings!

3D renderings of a blood vessel.

Final Design

The final infographic effectively showcases different aspects of sickle cell anemia with a visually appealing main image of blood cells that guide the viewer across the page.

I was also successful in teaching myself a brand new software on my own.

PDF version available here
A mock-up of the sickle cell anemia infographic in a magazine spread. The infographic features a flow of red blood cells on a dark blue backdrop.The sickle cell anemia infographic features a flow of red blood cells on a dark blue backdrop.