Not many people realize the time and effort placed into producing an effective medical illustration. Medical students, doctors, and patients can study or just glance at a medical illustration and take away a copious amount of information. They’re focusing on the information in the image and that’s the intended purpose. It’s the goal of the medical illustrator to unite information and form in order to communicate.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the qualities of an effective medical illustration according to one of the top medical illustrators out there, John Daugherty, CMI.
A medical visual should:

Teach effectively.

Communicate the client’s message.

Interpret for the viewer complex relationships in 3D space, and often time.

Have an appropriate viewpoint relative to the subject. Does the angle obscure important anatomy or distort certain relationships?

Accurately portray the biomedical content.

Be well drafted, rendered, and designed.

Be creative or unique. This can be the most difficult quality of all. How do you uniquely illustrate something that has been illustrated a thousand times, like a skull or a heart? To what level can you be creative without compromising accuracy? Can a medical illustration be informative and beautiful?