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Science Wins Three Awards in Graphic Design Competition

Science Wins Three Awards in Graphics Design Competition


Trade magazine Graphic Design USA selected the 17 June cover of Science, as well as a design accompanying the issue’s special section on RNA, as one of the year’s best examples of publication design. | Illustration: Charles Williams /

The journal Science has won three awards from a graphic design trade magazine, recognizing the journal’s work in publication design.

Covers and special sections from three issues of Science were chosen as part of the 2016 GDUSA American Graphic Design Awards, which were announced on 15 September. According to Graphic Design USA magazine, the competition received more than 10,000 submissions, and only 15 percent were recognized by the organization as the best graphic design work of the year.

Science’s Design Director Beth Rakouskas attributes the success to the caliber of the design team, as well as the research undertaken to display complex scientific material.

“We have a very talented team of designers, photo editors, illustrators, and data visualizers, who have the good fortune of working at Science where the content is always fresh and exciting,” Rakouskas explained.

Among the award-winning issues was the 11 March edition of Science, which featured a cover and a 19-page special section that focused on forensics. The cover page shows several bullets fired from the same pistol each with unique firing marks.

Martin Enserink, who served as the editor of the forensics package, explained that the image is meant to show that evidence analysis is not as clear-cut as some might think.

“Statistically speaking, it’s very hard to put a number on the chance that two bullets came from the same gun,” Enserink said.

Science Wins Three Awards in Graphics Design Competition


The 11 March cover of Science, as well as an accompanying 19-page special section on forensic analysis, won a GDUSA Graphic Design Award. | Matthew Rakola

Enserink, who is based in Amsterdam, coordinated with the art department via video conference to discuss plans for the package.

He described the cover as a “stunning, powerful photo that perfectly captures the entire topic.”

Enserink and the Science news team worked with Senior Designer Chrystal Smith and Graphics Managing Editor Alberto Cuadra on the project.

Wins Three Awards in Graphics Design Competition


This Science design spread was featured in a special section of the 17 July 2015 magazine on artificial intelligence. The design won an award from Graphic Design USA magazine on 15 September. | (Photo) Nick Dolding/Getty Image; Data: Baltrusaitis, Tadas, Peter Robinson, and Louis-Philippe Morency/USC Institute for Creative Technologies; Adapted by G. Grullón/Science)

The introductory design spread for a special section on artificial intelligence, published in Science on 17 July, 2015, also earned an award for an illustration of a psychotherapy tool which analyzes a person’s face.

Garvin Grullón worked as the senior designer on the spread, using data from researchers and illustrating how the face would be analyzed in the image.Christy Steele served as the senior photo editor on this project, as well as the forensics package.

She said that the challenge was to find a photograph of a human face that shows some level of expression, but “that was not so exaggerated that it detracted from the elegance of the final image.”

The third piece Graphic Design USA honored depicts the signals that control the activity of RNA. The image highlighted on the cover of Science on 17 June is a typographic illustration, showing ribosome “trains” that travel down a track filled with signals. Design Editor Marcy Atarod provided art direction for this project.

Rakouskas also worked on the design, and said that getting it just right involved a great deal of back-and-forth communication with editors and the design team. For her, the final product was worth the effort.

“The result is fantastic,” Rakouskas said. “This is a really inventive cover on a hard-to-illustrate topic.”

The issue also featured a two-page design spread introducing readers to a special section on RNA. This design was also recognized by the award.

The upcoming December issue of Graphic Design USA will be devoted entirely to showcasing the award winners, both online and in print. A digital flipbook will also be produced, allowing readers to scroll through designs on their mobile device.

[Associated image: Charles Williams/]