Matching art to message: NIOSH offers glimpse into creating safety materials

La salud no tiene precio

Photo: NIOSH

Washington – A recent blog post by NIOSH sheds light on the thought process that goes into choosing the most effective art for safety materials.

NIOSH addressed the topic within the framework of its partnership with the Mexican Consulates and the Ventanillas de Salud to promote worker safety. Visual information specialists and other experts from NIOSH set out to use images to convey important safety information to an audience of Spanish-speaking immigrant workers.

The project yielded four brochures, two posters and five videos. In a Sept. 8 post, NIOSH described the primary questions it faced as it prepared to create art materials:

  • Should we invest in good visuals?
  • What medium makes sense – photographs or illustrations?
  • How do we find the right artist?

The agency determined that strong, clear imagery could connect with immigrant workers – many of whom have low literacy levels, according to previous research. Both photographs and illustrations could be effective, NIOSH stated, but the agency selected the latter because of its emotional impact, adaptability and challenges in staging authentic risks. The right artist was one who could connect best with the specific worker audience, the agency said.