As 2017 draws to a close, the AXS Studio team is reflecting on the year past. In a long-standing tradition —12 years and counting! — we’ve selected our favourite science visualization images from the past year to showcase in our 2018 AXS Studio calendar. This handy desk calendar gives our clients, families and friends a glimpse into the variety of beautiful, high-science medical animations, medical illustrations, and interactive experiences our talented team creates throughout the year.

Feeling a bit nostalgic, we collected all 12 calendar covers from the past, beginning in 2006. Have we really created 12 years of calendars already?

How does the AXS calendar come into being? It starts in September each year, when team members begin selecting their favourite images from the past year. This year we started with 41 candidates. Several rounds of voting reduced this to a shortlist of 17, from which we chose a cover and 12 images — one per month. We then pair each image with an appropriate month. For instance, our image of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) from the PBS documentary, Gene Doctors, was a perfect fit for May, cystic fibrosis awareness month. Cool, frosty colour schemes usually wind up in January and February, while summer and autumn get the warmer images.

With the images selected, we lay out the cover, 12 pages and calendar stand that features descriptions of the  images. Rigorous proofing ensures we have all the dates correct! The press ready files are then sent to our printer for preparation of colour proofs. With those approved, lithography plates are made and set up on a 6-colour Heidelberg press. Here’s a sneak peek of the press run, expertly operated by master pressman Andy.

As you can see, from preparing the artwork and laying out the calendar to print production and finishing, the process of creating the calendar is far from simple. With production of the 2018 AXS Studio calendar complete, we wrap up another wonderful year. Happy holidays from the AXS  team–we look forward to sharing our love of art and passion for science in the new year!