Institute of Physics

Our location in the Knowledge Quarter enables us to meet a wide range of interesting contacts. The Institute of Physics’ (IoP) new headquarters is based just two minutes’ walk from our offices. We were delighted when they asked us to create some artwork to celebrate the opening of the building in November 2018.

This was the dream Scriberia job. IoP wanted 24 explainer illustrations for key ideas in physics, as well as for some of the cool technology and experiments incorporated into the building. The work was to be hosted on the website, on decks of cards to be handed to visitors and on a huge interactive motion-sending screen in the building reception area.

Our senior visualiser Matt ran a two-day workshop with a rotating team of experts, to get to the heart of concepts such as the photoelectric effect, relativity, quantum mechanics, the functioning of touch screens, LEDs and solar cells. After two days, we had found an idea that worked for each of the concepts. Back at the studio, Matt opted for a simple style, constructing characters and landscapes from the basic shapes of the “drawing alphabet” and giving the work a strong and coherent visual language.

We Say:

Though this was a fun brief, we had just a month to get our heads round some of the most notoriously difficult, counterintuitive concepts in science, encapsulate them in a series of visuals and get them ready to go to the printers. It felt like an incredibly ambitious ask but we were very keen to make it work. The interactive workshopping process we ran meant that IoP felt very much co-authors as well as clients, and working closely with the key stakeholders from the start meant that amends were minimal. Says Matt, “The real discipline was in cutting to the essence of the story for each concept – each drawing could have been filled with a textbook full of content but we had a very small amount of space and time to work with. We needed the work to be fun and engaging, but not too frivolous. It needed to be playful enough for kids to enjoy, but stay true to the science and not over-simplify. It was a really good exercise in the Scriberia values: clarity of purpose, value in the right place and everything telling a story.”

On a tight budget and a ridiculous deadline, we turned around a large amount of work that both we and the client are really proud of.

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They Say:

“We wanted to create some truly engaging resources that brought our ideas to life and, having met the team through the Knowledge Quarter network and looked through their incredible portfolio of work, working with Scriberia was the natural choice. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Matt and the team. We kicked off with a really dynamic and exciting brainstorming workshop and it was such a thrill to see these designs taking shape as Matt turned our conversations into drawings that really got to the heart of these big ideas in physics and made them fun, quirky and approachable. These illustrations form the heart of our Explore Physics resources, which have been a huge hit with visitors ranging from physics professors to primary school classes.”

Toby Shannon-Smith, Public Programmes Manager, Institute of Physics