Paying Homage to Nature’s 10
Hindsight is 2020
Picturing the Pandemic
We began with a survey of past Nature’s 10 covers and other exceptional editorial science illustrations to see what concepts and styles resonated most with our team. We then sketched up many ideas, from a wall of scientists facing down a SARS-CoV-2 asteroid to a vaccine syringe rocketing to a viral planet earth. These were analyzed and shortlisted on their merits, including which would lend itself well to a short animation in addition to a static image.
One particular drawing of a syringe and virion (virus particle) evoking the number 10 struck a chord with our client. An image of many virions forming the zero was the most appealing. This also gave us a useful visual device for the animated version of the cover: as the camera pulls back through a cluster of virions, they resolve into the shape of a zero just as the vaccine-filled syringe enters the field of view, completing the number 10. A spotlight on the syringe adds an element of hope—a light in the darkness of the pandemic.
A Lasting Impression
A compelling cover captures the spirit of the text and the curiosity of the reader. Our solution for 2020 Nature’s 10 cover scientific illustration is a dramatic representation of the emotionally-charged subject that shaped much of our world in 2020. It joins the prestigious ranks of past covers illustrating important scientific milestones. The accompanying video is an evocative lead-in to the online version of Nature’s 10 and doubled as a marketing tool for social media.
In the first week, the online article received 150K unique pageviews and was picked up in 550 news stories globally.