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Communication Design
Services and Capabilities

Communication Design

Creating communication solutions that are accessible, engaging, motivating, and effective

User-Centered, Evidence-Based Communication Design

Effective communication solutions are designed to be user-centered and evidence-based.  Applying best practices and drawing on several fields of study, our approach involves creating content that is clear and credible with accessible and engaging design that resonates with people. Our solutions are built for a wide range of professional and lay audiences, motivating and helping them to make informed decisions related to health, education, justice, and climate, including making decisions during a crisis, such as a public health emergency.

RTI’s Communication Design Methods

Our communication design approach includes the following: 

  • Content and digital strategy
  • Co-creation and human-centered design 
  • Accessible and inclusive communication
  • Plain language development and review
  • Multimedia campaign and digital product development
  • Strategic and risk communication 
  • Scientific and technical writing
  • Video, animation, and graphic design services
  • Message, concept, prototype, and usability testing

RTI’s Message Design and Impact Lab (MLab)

Messages are at the core of our work. RTI’s MLab specializes in developing messages and testing them to make sure they are attention-getting, clear, motivating, and effective. We know how, when, and where to place them in media and products, and we conduct cutting-edge evaluation research to assess their reach and impact.

MLab can provide clients with the following:  

  • One-on-one consultation with our experts  
  • A forum to share communication challenges and brainstorm solutions with our team
  • Trainings tailored to staff needs 

Partner with us to design accessible, engaging, motivating, and effective communication solutions.

Communication Design Project Highlights

COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness Messaging 

People with disabilities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and often lack the information needed to protect themselves from the disease. To address this gap, RTI International helped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide people with disabilities with relevant, timely, and effective COVID-19 information in accessible and inclusive formats. RTI and its partner developed a suite of materials for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on topics such as getting a COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot, social distancing, wearing a mask, and handwashing. The team also developed 10 American Sign Language videos and 5 materials in braille and disseminated them through trusted channels.

Digital Engagement Experiences for the All of Us Research Program

Biomedical research participants need to reflect the diversity of communities across the United States to drive health care innovation that benefits everyone. However, biomedical research has historically underrepresented members of populations from diverse backgrounds or those with complex diseases. The National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program aims to enroll 1 million or more participants in a longitudinal research program and is prioritizing enrollment of members of communities historically underrepresented in biomedical research. The overarching goal is to accelerate health research to develop better treatments and ways to prevent different diseases, enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care for all of us. RTI is one of the All of Us Engagement and Retention Innovator Awardees. In this role, RTI works with other consortium members and awardees to research, design, deliver, and evaluate digital solutions using a human-centered design, engagement marketing, and developmental evaluation approach. Human-centered design focuses on the needs of individuals and communities when developing solutions, engagement marketing fosters connections and builds trust with community members through active and intentional collaboration, and developmental evaluation prioritizes real-time data to inform ongoing decision-making as part of the design process. We are currently developing prototypes and conducting user and pilot testing on a range of products that will be available for wider use by All of Us consortium partners in the future.

HIV Prevention and Treatment Continuum of Care for Health Care Providers

In support of CDC’s HIV prevention and care strategy, RTI produces and disseminates compelling evidence-based, digital-first content and products in English and Spanish that motivate clinicians to help end the HIV epidemic. With a special focus on patient populations that are disproportionately impacted by HIV, RTI creates resources for health care providers that counter HIV stigma and that improve health outcomes for their patients. Using an integrated marketing approach that combines social marketing, behavior change theory, formative research, and human-centered design, RTI’s award-winning products provide the latest clinical information and guidelines to health care providers delivering HIV prevention and care services. Our in-house creative studio—with a dedicated team of communication strategists, plain language specialists, science writers, copyeditors, graphic designers, and video specialists—has designed 700+ branded digital and print materials for the campaign. Many of these resources are featured on CDC’s campaign website, HIV Nexus, a resource hub designed for clinicians. Campaign messages and materials are also disseminated through a highly targeted media plan that is continually optimized to achieve the greatest reach and impact. To date, the campaign has garnered more than 188 million impressions and more than 2 million engagements.