Up your nose

Visual communication and COVID-19

David Blumenstein
2 min readJul 13, 2020

A design colleague working with kids in mandatory quarantine asked for suggestions as to ways to gamify the process of giving children coronavirus nasal swab tests, preferably using paper (as it’s disposable). This was my first thought.

If you’d like to use it with kids yourself but don’t draw, download a double-sided printable PDF here.

Then print to both sides of the paper and pop a little hole where the nostril is.

If you use it, let me know how you go.

When the pandemic kicked off, annoyed by the lack of useful government communications, I did a “volunteer” explainer for my local MP to use.

It was useful as of March 26; I don’t think the basic info has changed much since then. This, also, is available for download if you want it.

There are plenty of people using graphics to help communicate things around coronavirus. It’s been part of my own freelance work in the last few months.

As the writers of the afore-linked paper say,

Public health bodies, governments, and media outlets have turned to comics in this time of need and found a natural and capable medium for responding to the challenge. Comics have been used as a vehicle to present science in graphic narratives, harnessing the power of visuals, text, and storytelling in an engaging format.

Simultaneously, of course, the conservative Australian government has eliminated its federal arts department, made an arts education more difficult for non-wealthy students to get and continues to kneecap organisations that give young artists a chance to build their skills, from Australia Council for the Arts to the ABC and local community TV channels.

Meanwhile,they are dribbling tiny amounts of pandemic rescue funding into the arts/entertainment sector, posing with the one Australian celebrity willing to be seen with them. And state governments are having a nice time rorting local arts funding and redirecting it to politically convenient areas. Because “arty types” don’t know what’s good for communities.

There’s a larger rant to be had about this but I’ll leave it there for now. Keep well.

David Blumenstein is a service designer and visual communicator. There are no Drawing for Story workshops being held currently as, when his city is not under government lockdown, David is hiding under his bed “doing his bit” for the community. Students of Academy Xi’s UX and Service Design courses will catch him teaching “narrative visualisation” in the Zoom classroom, though.

David’s most recent comics story is Why Los Angeles is Scientology’s perfect city, at The Guardian.



David Blumenstein

David works in service/strategic design: experienceillustration.com. He draws comics at Squishface Studio: squishfacestudio.com. Other stuff: nakedfella.com.