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Climate visuals: seven principles for visual climate change communication

Source(s):  Climate Outreach (formerly COIN)

This report summarises the research underpinning the Climate Visuals website and presents the key findings so that practitioners can take an evidence-based approach to visual communication. The imagery used to communicate climate change can and should be more diverse than polar bears and melting ice. Climate Visuals takes the first steps towards helping communicators tell a better visual story about climate change.

The research combined two different methods. Four structured discussion groups (with a total of 32 citizens) were held: two in London and two in Berlin. Participants responded to dozens of climate images, engaging in detailed discussions about what they saw. Following this in-depth research, an international online survey of 3,014 people was conducted, with participants split equally between the UK, Germany and the US. The survey allowed for the testing of a smaller number of images with a much larger number of people.

Key research findings include the following seven conclusions to more effectively communicate about climate change:

  • Show 'real people; not staged photo-ops;
  • Tell new stories;
  • Show climate causes at scale;
  • Climate impacts are emotionally powerful;
  • Show local (but serious) climate impacts;
  • Be very careful with protest imagery;
  • Understand your audience.

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  • Climate visuals: seven principles for visual climate change communication
  • Publication date 2016
  • Author(s) Adam Corner; Robin Webster; Christian Teriete
  • Number of pages 41 p.

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