Vollkorn is a studio in Zurich, Switzerland, specialized in scientific visualization, from illustration to interactive content and 3D animations. Oxana was our link between Sciencemotionology and Vollkorn.
Sciencemotionology: What is your background? Can you tell us a little bit about the Vollkorn team?
Oxana: We are a symbiosis of different skills in design such as scientific visualization, illustration, graphic design and animation.
Sciencemotionology: When or where did your interest for scientific illustration and animation begin?
Oxana: We would say it began a long time ago. Maybe we were born with it :) Of course it became stronger and more focussed during the studies at art school.
Sciencemotionology: How did the Vollkorn project take shape? What is the vision for this project?
Oxana: Vollkorn is actually the result of an after work beer :) The vision is quite simple: We would like to make complex topics — and especially the science — visually more attractive and knowledge easier accessible.
Sciencemotionology: Usually we see more people from a scientific background creating this type of projects. Do you think that’s a disadvantage for you and Vollkorn?
Oxana: In our opinion it is always teamwork. As we are not scientists, in most of the cases the scientist is not a designer... We see it more like a cooperation, both sides are needed: the know-how in science and the know-how in design.
Sciencemotionology: Which do you think are the biggest challenges in scientific illustration and animation?
Oxana: To be honest.. we think it is not a particular technique or software.. it is simply money. A lot of people are not willing to pay for services like drawing or visual concepts. We guess this is a big challenge and should be changed.
Sciencemotionology: Do you think the general public is informed or aware of the potential of visual communication, in education for instance?
Oxana: Most of the general public do know that a picture paints a thousand words. But in practice people are mostly not ready to integrate the visual part in their work because it is always about planning and extra money. Therefore it is mostly ourselves, who are to canvass for customers.
Sciencemotionology: Some of the biggest clients for scientific animation are biotech companies. Do you think there is a big market for projects like Vollkorn in Switzerland, considering its strong presence in the biotechnology industry? Or do you see your agency more like an international player?
Oxana: We think there is a difference between the market in Switzerland and the market in the United States. Europe in general is more focussed on research while people from USA are already aware of marketing and advertising in scientific projects.
Sciencemotionology: How do you think new technologies (such as holograms and augmented reality) will be incorporated into (scientific) visual communication?
Oxana: Personally we think it is a great entertainment and a trend. Time will tell if it is more than that and also ready for the integration in scientific projects as a standard. We think the balance of technique and esthetic appearance in this new medias is not fully achieved yet but we are looking forward to it.
Sciencemotionology: Who are your references in scientific illustration or animation? How do they influence your work?
Oxana: Inspiration for us is everywhere... We are way too curious to have only one muse or inspiration reference.
Sciencemotionology: Do you have a favorite work you did and why is it so important for you?
Oxana: There is not one / a particular project. Our projects are like babies. So it would be like asking a mother: "Which child is your favorite..?" :)
Sciencemotionology: May you disclose a little bit about your current projects?
Oxana: Currently we are working for different branches such as veterinary medicine, ecology, and education. The last one is a nice challenge because we are creating an infographic that shows a complex educational work-flow / process with different levels and layers.