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Figures, graphics and illustration design for scientists


22 October 2018, UNIL

Langue EN Workshop language is English

Graduate Campus


Dr Laura Symul (www.illustratedscience.net) received her education in engineering before getting her PhD in computational biology at EPFL. Besides her scientific background she kept drawing and started to combine her graphical and scientific skills by designing review figures for scientific journals such as Cellular Microbiology and EMBO Press, and doing scientific illustrations for professors or for exhibitions. Her current mandate focuses on the facilitation of science stories through talks and exhibitions at the World Economic Forum.


An image is worth a thousand words... if well designed.
Scientists nowadays produce more visuals than ever in the form of plots, diagrams, and illustrations for publications, posters, talks, grants, and reviews. However, some researchers feel lost when it comes to communicating their work visually.

This seminar aims at providing participants with principles and tools that enable them to create better visuals.

The objectives of this seminar are:

  • Learn the basics of graphic design and visualisation for efficient communication of scientific concepts.
  • Develop the ability to design from scratch figures for specific cases, such as publications, reviews, posters or talks
  • Improve existing figures (participants bring their own figures) and feel more at ease when it comes to turn complex concepts into simple figures

The morning session of this seminar focuses on data visualisation. During the afternoon, we will explore how to design better illustrations and how to build coherent visual narratives.

During the workshop, various pieces of software, such as Illustrator, will be demonstrated but the workshop is not designed as a tutorial for those tools. These demos aim at showing new possibilities offered by such programs.



Morning session (9h > 12h30 with a 20' break included)

  • Introduction: Re-exploring the concepts of (visual) communication?
  • Data visualisation: Find the best way to show your data

Afternoon session (14h > 18h00 with a 20' break included)

  • Illustrations, schemas and graphical abstracts: Express your concepts clearly and beautifully
  • Rethinking poster design and adapting your figures for posters
  • Preparing slide decks for presentations
  • Principles of layout and technical considerations
  • Checklist, conclusions and questions.


Délai d'inscription 17.10.2018
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