Purpose: To develop and present a systematic, hierarchical taxonomy of visuals used in science communication, in order to facilitate analysis as well as selection and design of visuals. Methods: Iterative analysis of commonly used visuals and existing typologies and
selection of a classification system. Results: A taxonomy is proposed based on Linnean principles, which distinguishes three classes of visuals based on their information and sign content; these are subdivided in orders and families. A systematic nomenclature is described. Conclusions:
Used successfully in training sessions and research, the taxonomy offers the basis for the development of comprehensive guidelines and improvements in the design and usage of visuals.
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