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The State of Sustainability Initiatives Review is a massive report, created every four years, by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, one of Talk Science to Me's oldest clients. We were asked to copy-edit, design and proofread this epic masterpiece, weighing in at 365 pages. The design portion of the project, with its more than 400 figures, tables and images, was mine.

State of Sustainability Initiatives Review 2014 cover © International Institute for Sustainable Development 2014The SSI report, which evaluates voluntary sustainability initiatives in 10 major agricultural crops, is a massive undertaking of research and writing, and my task was to honour the content and create a logical, readable, accessible—i.e., well-designed—version for our client’s readers, which include experts in the field, laypeople and the media.

The central problem in the design process, which had to be completed—including working with the proofreader—in about a month, originated from a seemingly non-design-related question: who was providing content, and when were they delivering it?

Solve that problem well, and the report would be better designed for it.

Most of the things in our "Treasures" series are living organisms. I think this is partly because lots of living organisms are easy to identify with: they exist on a scale similar to ours and are easy to categorize as discrete entities. Phenomena are a little...

Science provides discovery. Design provides clarity. Together, they provide an endless fascination with the world. This mantra has continued to guide my creative process since joining the Talk Science to Me team in February. My first couple of projects with Talk Science To Me involved collaborating to produce both online and print publications. With...

Dr. David Ng is definitely our kind of person. In addition to being smart as a scientist, he’s an excellent and inventive communicator with a great instinct for creating hooks. He’s also very skilled at devising relatable premises that are truly capable of carrying a...

If you know anything about basic science, it’s likely you’ve yelled at a television show for flagrantly making things up when it would seemingly be just as easy to ask an expert. Or a graduate of grade 8, for that matter. The people who go through the most pain are those in frequently represented fields: forensic scientists, lawyers, that sort of thing. I can only assume drug dealers and superspies have just as much trouble watching their fictional counterparts. This is all very understandable, I think. The story may be fictional, but as long as it’s grounded somewhere in the real world, some of us will at least want the internal mechanisms of the narrative to cohere—we want the moving parts to be there, even if they can’t really work. This attitude becomes harder to justify when the world of the narrative bears less resemblance to our own. How pedantic can you really be about the invented science of Star Trek? Very pedantic, it turns out. It turns out things like space combat aren’t pure speculation at this stage; there are some basic physical constraints that will probably apply no matter how technologically advanced we get. But really, there’s no limit. (Even Harry Potter got (dreadfully) re-written by someone who thought the system of magic in the stories wasn’t logical enough.)