Bioinformatics applies computer science approaches to the analysis of biological data. It is widely known for its genomics-based analysis approaches that have supported, for example, the 1000 Genomes Project. In addition, bioinformatics relates to many other areas, such as analysis of microscopic images (e.g., organelle localization), molecular modelling (e.g., proteins, biological membranes), and visualization of biological networks (e.g., protein–protein interaction networks, metabolism). Design is a highly interdisciplinary field that incorporates aspects such as aesthetic, economic, functional, philosophical, and/or socio-political considerations into the creative process and is usually determined by context. While visualization plays a critical role in bioinformatics, as reflected in a number of conferences and workshops in the field, design in bioinformatics-related research contexts in particular is not as well studied. With this special issue in conjunction with an international workshop, we aim to bring together bioinformaticians from different fields with designers, design researchers, and medical and scientific illustrators to discuss future challenges in the context of bioinformatics and design.