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Dear <<First Name>>

With misinformation surrounding corona spreading faster than the virus itself we are curious to hear more about your communication approach. From a professional perspective it’s interesting to see this play out, to observe the different communication strategies around the world and their impact. 

The Brits for example went with the catchy: catch it, bin it, kill it.
That however first brought to mind catching the virus.

The Dutch on the other hand completely omit the ‘bin it and kill it' steps from their official communication. And we have undoubtedly all found disintegrated tissues in our washing machines and driers before.

Having said that, with the science of COVID-19 rapidly evolving communicating evidence-based measures in a world where people are rapidly whipping each other into hysteria (amongst other things resulting in panic buying of toilet paper) remains a tough challenge. 

Interestingly Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, despite their geographical proximity to China seem to be faring quite well at the moment. And that is the result of learning from the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic and the 2015 MERS epidemic. Taiwan for example has a Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), which was set up post-SARS and is tasked with coordinating responses to viruses. Key factors in these countries (so far) containing the outbreaks are a strong reliance on information, lots of virus tests, and quick data-informed decisions. And with regards to information that means not only evaluating the available data, but also transforming these into actionable regulations and clear communication. For example, Taiwan's CECC disclosed locations visited by known cases, then advising people who were in these locales at the same time to conduct conduct self-health management for 14 days.

Learning from past own experience is one thing, learning from another's past experience is something else. Yet perhaps in this unprecedented situation that is exactly what we need to do. Go out and find what worked, and what didn't work, in your past communications, and how other counties, states or countries have approached a similar problem.

We wish you all the best, and please get in touch if you have a query we might be able to help with.

Best wishes,
Saskia, Claudine, Klaus, Tingyi, Rodrigo and Julia

P.S. For those of you who noticed that our February newsletter didn’t make it out, we sincerely apologise!


Gatekeepers rather than helpless: An Exploratory Investigation of Seniors’ Use of Information and Communication Technology in Critical Settings caught our eye. Seniors are disproportionately impacted during disasters, this research however shows that "when faced with incomplete or absent official information they are able to draw on ICT to share information, connect and fill information needs. It also suggests that they are a valuable source of knowledge and experience in the context of disasters." We recommend reading this article for a fresh perspective on seniors and their information needs.


Art & Design

Have you heard this stunning piece at the intersection of art and science? Conductor Alan Gilbert and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra in Hamburg, in collaboration with media design studio Space and sound design studio Kling Klang Klong created 'For seasons by data' ( They took Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and used algorithms to modify the music to take climate change data into account. The result is both hauntingly beautiful in its execution (though perhaps not always in aural pleasure), and sweepingly sad once you realise that what you're missing is what has been lost as the result of climate change.

DNEM Book Club

"Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you're a woman." 

Invisible women by Caroline Criado Perez reveals how most design is biased towards men. Saskia "It is a read that at times is shocking, so utterly ingrained are these biases in society. Applying its learnings to design for emergency management makes me wonder how well we understand the role of women in particular during emergencies, as well as how we can most effectively communicate with them".

Have you checked out our book yet? It presents the contents of the first DNEM workshop on Design for emergency management. Intended for emergency managers and other interested parties, this guidebook provides an easily accessible overview of visual language, iconography, cognition in emergencies, rapid prototyping, evaluation and ethics.

Each of these topics warrants a full book and course in its own right, and neither the workshop nor this guidebook can do justice to the breadth and depth of these subjects. However, we aim to introduce you to some key ideas, and provide you with easy-to-use tools to incorporate these design concepts into your day-to-day work.

I want a copy!
Check out our website at or get in touch with us via social media.
We love to hear from you!

Photos in the newsletter are from the awesome photographers who upload their work to Unsplash and freely allow others to use their beautiful work.
Copyright © 2020 Design for Emergency Management, All rights reserved.

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