Jen Christiansen

Jen Christiansen is senior graphics editor at Scientific American magazine. Her strengths lie in understanding, interpreting, and communicating scientific content visually.

Before rejoining Scientific American in 2007, she was a freelance designer, art director, and illustrator focused primarily on magazine and book work for clients such as McGraw Hill (through Electronic Publishing Services, Inc.), Trillium Studios, The Cooking Lab, Intellectual Ventures, WordFirm, Scientific American, National Geographic, and The Rockefeller University. Prior to establishing her own freelance business, she was an assistant art director at National Geographic magazine for nearly two years, and then a designer at the magazine for three. Several years as an art director at Scientific American magazine preceded this, building upon the skills she had developed as a graduate student in natural science illustration at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and studies in studio art and geology at Smith College.

Session: Digital Analogues

How does a magazine that covers advances in science and technology illustrate emerging ideas before the technology being described is ubiquitous? I’ll share examples of how Scientific American illustrated topics in innovation and information at the dawn of the digital age and beyond: a time during which technological advances in imaging were being reported on before the technology was mainstream enough to produce—or share—the magazine with it.