Graphical design skills for young scientists

Graphical abstracts, infographics, one-slide posters for digital conferences – the way scientific results are presented nowadays requires increased design and illustration skills. This is why the Nansen Legacy organized a hands-on course on how to illustrate scientific findings in a visually attractive manner.

The Nansen Legacy is home to many young scientists from master to postdoc-level. They all are confronted with a rapid change in how scientific results are presented and branded. Digital conferences and the widespread use of social media are increasingly requiring higher quality illustrations of scientific results than just 10 years ago. To build competence, the Nansen Legacy organized a one-week long hands-on graphical design course for its early career scientists.

The course was led by graphical communicator Pina Kingman, who  introduced the theory and hands-on methods of how to visually represent scientific results. The course covered concept development, which addresses how to take complex scientific questions and distill this information into a coherent story, which can then be turned into an illustration; design theory, which helps to understand how to create powerful illustrations, as well as a beginner course in Adobe Illustrator and alternative vector illustration software.



By the end of the course, all 16 participants had created a digital artwork of their research, aided through group peer-to-peer review and brainstorming sessions, and through personal reviews by the instructor. The graphical competence acquired during the course will strengthen the communication of Nansen Legacy results and science communication in general.