My name is Chris Barnes, founder of Emphatic Communications, a design consultancy based in Olympia, Washington, at the southern end of Puget Sound.

I have 25 years experience providing creative services and consulting to global leaders in healthcare and the life sciences. I help teams: 

  • reach clear and actionable insights from complex inputs and situations

  • think visually to solve problems and communicate more effectively

  • serve the context and needs of people

  • inform and shape behavior with clear purpose-driven content

These days I work as a solo consultant and build teams of experienced writers, researchers, developers, and other experts as needed to meet specific client and project requirements. Because of Emphatic's unique focus, I often work alongside other agencies, creative firms, and consultants, and sometimes I work for them.

My expertise is in helping clients use human-centered design methods to improve the value and usability of the content, experiences, and tools that they create for people — whether they are patients, clinicians, payers, employees, or investors. 



People say the nicest things...

Emphatic has helped us better understand our challenges, helped us identify and think through the implications of strategic choices and decisions, and helped us plan and execute on solutions.
— Amy Donohue, Associate Director of Marketing, Johnson & Johnson
It has been a wonderful experience working with Chris. He is a strategist. He not only delivers what you ask of him, but goes one step ahead, anticipates what you need, incorporates his amazing communication and designing skills, and delivers a product which is even better than your own initial ideas.
— Dr. Vikas Yadav, Research Associate & Program Manager, BetterBirth Program, Ariadne Labs
Chris and I have worked together for many years on a number of high-visibility best-practices training programs and marketing communications campaigns. Chris is committed to delivering the best possible strategic thinking, problem-solving, and out-of-the-box creative. The work of exceeds my expectations — and the deliverables we’ve produced together have exceeded my clients’ expectations — every time.
— Sue Reeves, Artivia Strategy Management
Chris Barnes is a stellar individual who embodies integrity, honesty, and creativity! I have enjoyed working with him and his team for 7 years and he has always delivered beyond expectations — and, on time and on budget, every time. Chris is unique in his style and brings more than design excellence to a partnership; he thinks and executes strategically. He goes above and beyond to understand clients’ needs and quickly gains the subject matter knowledge needed to deliver innovative and unique solutions. He truly understands the spirit of partnership and is committed to his colleagues and clients.
— Ayaimah Ramsammy, VP Client Services, IntraMed Educational Group


Is Emphatic a good fit for your organization?


We are best able to deliver results for clients who...

  • Seek specialized expertise

  • Value the needs of their audience

  • Embrace change and actively seek opportunities to do better

  • Are prepared to actively contribute and engage in the project

  • Have adequate resources (staff, budget, and time)

  • Are interested in developing effective long-term solutions