How to build a human heart

This week’s infographic is my 2nd collaboration with Nerdcore Medical. The poster explains how a baby’s heart develops while in the womb. It’s a bit of a hodgepodge of different elements - there are anatomical changes, molecular changes, and also some sections on basic anatomy. We were going for a Victorian steam-punk poster style, and it was really fun to fill up a medical diagram with embellishments and scrollwork.

One of the major challenges was making the diagrams look Victorian, but still keeping the details accurate. So for most of the figures I stuck with very simple embellishments. For example, all of the veins and arteries in the biggest figure should be in the correct place - they’re just tweaked a little to look like pipes instead of organic tubes. Since the poster is about heart development, I took a few more liberties with the other organs in each diagram. We only included organs like the liver as a reference point to major blood vessels, so it didn’t matter too much if I added scrolls or gears to these organs.

I got to hand-draw all of the diagrams with a paper and pencil, which was a fun change of pace from my usual digital work. Every time I make a large hand-drawn design I’m reminded of all the pre-photography era scientists who made their science figures by hand. As much as I love design I’m really happy we don’t have to do that anymore for our research.

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