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[Perspectives] Design for life

Mention the name John Snow in conversation, and the odds are that discussion would not revolve around a 19th-century physician. Yet this particular John Snow was responsible for saving many lives after he mapped cholera cases during an 1854 epidemic in London. Snow’s map, regarded as a foundation of modern epidemiology, sits without fanfare next to another pioneering work—Florence Nightingale’s polar area diagram of causes of death in the Crimean War—in a new Wellcome Collection exhibition, Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? It’s refreshing to see these items in the limelight, alongside a collection of objects ranging from cigarette packets to drug packaging and posters to hospital spaces and signs.