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How to Design Scientific Figures

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Two-day workshop offered by the Bonn Graduate Center on March 19 and 20, 2019, first day 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., second day 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Alte Sternwarte, Poppeldorfer Allee 47, Room Pegasus (0.003).


Course Content


What is the first thing we scientists look at in scientific articles or on posters? The figures! But they are not only meant to be eye-catching. They also convey information with a density that words can never attain. Because figures are so powerful in communicating scientific data, extra care should be taken when designing them. In this workshop, you will learn basic design rules and how to apply those rules to your figures. These universal concepts can be transferred to all kinds of scientific figures — from maps, diagrams, or plots to schematic visualizations.

Intended Learning Outcomes

• You understand basic design rules and how to apply them in the design of scientific figures (presentation and group discussion).
• You know how and why these design rules positively aid in understanding the message of a figure (comparison and discussion of     figures).
• You are able to spot how figures can be improved (trainer input and practical exercise).
• You know about different color palettes, where to find them, and how to use them (practical exercise).
• You can identify suitable diagram types/visualisations for your data (group discussion, practical exercise).


Please bring one to three figures designed by you or, alternatively, a figure from your field. We will work with these, giving you the opportunity to directly apply your new theoretical knowledge.

Target Group

Doctoral Researchers from the Natural and Life Sciences

Course Language


Course Instructor

Dr Susanne Berger 

"Promotion plus"

11 units are applicable for this course within the "Promotion plus" certificate. 


Module 1: Independent Research





Joana SW
In case you have questions regarding our course offerings, please contact:
Joana Bürger-John, Bonn Graduate Center, [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.].
The premises of Bonn Graduate Center are not barrier-free. Please contact us by e-mail when you register for a workshop if your mobility is limited. We will attempt to find a solution to enable you to participate in our workshop.