When you’re working with scientists, it is incredibly helpful to take the time to understand why they find their research interesting. What intrigues them about the science they’re working on? What made them curious about this specific problem in the first place? Asking these questions will help you connect with the science.
Identify the appropriate context for your design by clarifying the targeted audience and the intended use of the design with the researcher. If you’re designing for a publication, explore previous issues and get a sense of what design standards and aesthetic exist already.
There are also ethical considerations for a designer that may come up when working with a researcher. Clinical researchers are often recruiting patients or healthy subjects for their research. Before they can begin their research, they are required to develop protocols – or standards to which they’ll adhere, plus specific methods for conducting their research. Researchers will then submit these protocols to a, institutional review board (IRB) for approval. If you’re designing for a clinical researcher, make sure to have them stipulate that the content you’re given has been approved by all necessary groups before you provide any design deliverables.