Visualize your Science

4 ECTS PhD summer course 

In how to create better images for your research

The course opens 10th of May 

Registration is open 

Register here


We all do excellent research that deserves to be presented in the best possible way. This course is open for you who want to improve your skill in drawing figures, making posters and visually conveying your research more effectively to both your peers and to the general audience.

As fluent as we may be in writing or talking about our science and results, we may still lack one essential element of scientific communication in our repertoire: the translation of our work into clear, pedagogic images and figures.

The goal with the course is to teach you basic skills that will make you comfortable to do figures that are clear and crisp, posters that outshine your neighboring fellow posters and presentations that keep your audience awake. 

Science image

Course summary

  • Course name: Visualize your Science
  • Credits: Equivalent to 4 ECTS (3 weeks)
  • Level: PhD-course
  • Language: English
  • Illustration software: Inkcape, Adobe illustrator, Affinity desiger or similar
  • Course fee: 575 € (vat excl.)
  • Course time: 10th of May to 23rd of August

This is the same course as the ones that are registered as official PhD-courses at 

But now it is all online for your convenience!

Dates and times for the web meetings

You only need to attend each meeting once.

How is the course structured?

The course is all online where theory and drawing tutorials always are available (as video, text, quizes etc. The feedback sessions will all be "live" web meetings in groups of 4 or 6. 

After you have registered for the course you will get access codes to the course online school and the communication central.  

Each online module consists of 20 - 40 minute video lectures. You will also get access to all slides and source files.  

You can watch the online tutorials as many times you want. You will also have access to the material as long as you would like to.

Sign up here

What do students say about the course?

“Great course! Very relevant for PhD students! I managed to win a poster-prize with my “almost” finalized poster” 

 Erik Nylander

“I had high expectations from the start, but the course was even better than my expectations” 

 Sara Andersson

“I cannot say with certainty but I feel these skills are EXTREMELY useful for ALL presenters of any kind” 

Kárí Sveinbjörnsson

“A very nice and informative course, it should really be mandatory for all PhD-students. I enjoyed every part of it” 

 Linus von Fieandt

"It’s excellent course which is good base for every scientist. It’s very important to explain to people how to show difficult data in the best and easy way. Ideas and tricks which I learned helped me to make good pictures, that is really nice. My supervisor asked me to make and improve other people pictures so I can see as much I learnt during this short time.” 

Klaudia Szeler

“I am completely satisfied with the course. I learned what I wanted to learn, its more than I have expected. Thanks a lot for this course” 

 Raviteja Inturi

It is always fun to get e-mails from old students

Using google translate the email says

Who is this course for?

The course is intended for PhD students who are interested in improving their drawing skills and producing posters that outshine all other posters; images that are simple but yet informative, result graphs that are effective and clear, and graphical abstracts that are self- explanatory. The course is based on drawing and not coding.

master science images

You will also 

  • Get lots of feedback on your poster, graphical abstract and other images.
  • Meet lots of PhD-students from other disciplines and actually understand what they are doing.
  • Learn how to think visually about your research. 
  • Get training in how to produce, print and present your poster. 

After the course you will know

  • How to create beautiful and credible scientific posters.
  • How to use professional illustration software to illustrate your research.
  • Where to find images, if you cannot draw them yourself.
  • How to create images that are simple but yet informative.
master your colors

Course modules

On-line modules block 1

MODULE 1

VISUALS IN SCIENCE

  • Why do we have to care about the images?
  • What kind of images do we have in science?
  • How could we create better images?

MODULE 2

ART SCHOOL FOR SCIENTISTS

  • Elements of good design
  • Principles of good design

MODULE 3

COLORS IN SCIENCE IMAGES

  • Color theory
  • Color modes
  • Design with color
  • Color in results graphs


MODULE 4

BASIC TYPOGRAPHY

  • Anatomy of fonts
  • How fonts affect credibility
  • Font crimes to avoid

MODULE 5

INTRODUCTION TO LAYOUT 

  • Using grids and guides  
  • Effective layout
  • Order and organization
  • Layout crimes

MODULE 6

IMAGE ETHICS AND LICENCES

  • Image licenses
  • How to find "safe-to-use" images 
  • Image copyrights


MODULE 7

DATA VISUALIZATION

  • Data and chart types
  • Effective charts


MODULE 8

SCIENTIFIC POSTER

  • How to create a structured poster 
  • Text in posters
  • Posterize images

MODULE 9

ORAL PRESENTATION

  • Images in oral presentations
  • Introduction to visual storytelling


MODULE 10

SOFTWARE AND IMAGE FORMATS

  • A guide through the graphical software jungle
  • Image file formats
  • From bitmap to vector images (and the other way around)

MODULE 11-13

DRAWING TUTORIALS IN ILLUSTRATION SOFTWARE

  • Basic shapes
  • Clip art look
  • 2.5D drawing using gradients and transparencies

ASSIGNMENT 1

DRAW LAB EQUIPMENT IN FOUR STEPS  

  • Practice to draw in the illustration software of your own choice

Feedback session 1

POSTER DISSECTION WORKSHOP

  • We will meet and talk about posters, go through some poster examples and use our acquired knowledge in graphical design to see if we could make the posters more communicative

On-line modules block 2

MODULE 14

TYPES OF IMAGES

  • Explanatory images
  • Exhibitory images
  • Exploratory images

MODULE 15

GRAPHICAL ABSTRACT

  • What is a graphical abstract?
  • How to edit images
  • The design process

MODULE 16

IMAGE STRUCTURING

  • Setting up art board
  • Add entry point, grids, guides

 

MODULE 17

DRAWING TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Arrows
  • Crop and clip
  • Lighting and shading
  • Motion blur


ASSIGNMENT 2

CREATE A GRAPHICAL ABSTRACT 

  • In this assignment you will have to create a graphical abstract describing your research project or an article. The aims of the assignment are  

  • Become more familiar with the illustration software
  • Develop your visual thinking 
  • Test your design against scientists not in your field

Feedback session 2 

PRESENTATION DAY: GRAPHICAL ABSTRACT

  • We will meet in small groups and give feedback on each other’s graphical abstracts. You get the chance to practice and improve your visual literacy. 
  • There will be several 50 min sessions during the day and you only need to attend one. 

On-line modules block 3

MODULE 18

ADVANCED POSTER DESIGN

  • Introduction to the poster design wheel
  • Audience-based design


MODULE 19

MEMORY USER DESIGN 

  • How to make your poster memorable
  • What makes your poster invisible, i.e. poster design crimes 

MODULE 20

POSTER COMPOSITION

  • The five ways you could structure your poster
  • Communicative design


MODULE 21a

PREPARE FOR POSTER

  • Add images
  • Text formatting
  • Navigation

MODULE 21b

ESSENTIAL POSTER TRICKS

  • Alignment
  • Hierarchy
  • Perspective drawing

ASSIGNMENT 3

CREATE A POSTER 

  • Use your acquired software skills and combine them with graphic design and visual thinking to create a beautiful and yet credible scientific poster

Feedback session 3

PRESENTATION DAY: POSTER IN PROGRESS SEMINAR

  • We will meet in small groups and give feedback on each other’s posters-in-progress. You will discover that elements in your poster that are obvious for you are not obvious for everybody.
  • There will be several 50 min sessions during the day and you only need to attend one. 

On-line modules block 4

MODULE 22

BALANCING YOUR POSTER

  • Simple balancing
  • Visual weight


MODULE 23

UNIFYING YOUR POSTER

  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Proportions

ASSIGNMENT 3 cont

IMPROVE YOUR POSTER

  • Make adjustments based on the feedback you received. 

Feedback session 4

POSTER PRESENTATION AND EXAM DAY 

 23rd of August

  • We will all meet in groups of 6 and enjoy a 90 minutes session where we look at the different posters.
  • You will get more feedback visually but also scientifically since your poster will draw attention, control eye movement across the paper, convey information and evoke emotion. 

The registration and course fee is 575€ (vat excl.)

Register here

Some before and after examples



Frequently asked questions

Image course questions

Q. Is this course the same as the ones taught on Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Stockholm), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU, Uppsala)?

A. Yes it is, but now as online for your convenience!

Q. How could you say that the course is equivalent to 4 ECTS  

A. I have given the course since 2011. I have asked more than 200 students how much credits the course should be worth in relation to the time spent to complete the course. The average amount of credits is 4.32. 

Q. Hmm, you represent a company, could you really examine and give me the credits?

A. Of course not, but if you complete the course I will give you a certificate that clearly states the amount of work you have done in time. This certificate could then be used to get ECTS credits but your supervisor/resonsible must be the examinator. So far, more than 400 students have completed the course and received their certificate. If you will run in to problems, please let me know.

Q. Why does it cost 575 €, I thought all PhD courses should be free of charge

A. I wish that all courses were free as well but since I am doing this for a living I need to charge for the course. I do everything I can to keep the cost as low as possible. 

Q. Why does it only cost 575 €? These kind of courses often cost thousands of Euros. Do I get any personal feedback at all?  

A. You will get lots of personal feedback both from me and fellow students. The reason why I don't charge thousands of Euros is because I think that it is better this knowledge should be accessible to as many researchers as possible.

Q. Is this some easily earned credits? I mean, I pay a registration fee, then you must be happy and just let me pass?

A. Absolutely not, In order to pass and complete the course you must do all the assignments, attend all face-to-face sessions and complete all on-line modules. It is equivalent to 3 weeks of full time work. 

Q. What will happen if I cannot complete the course this time?

A. No problem, you will get another chance to complete the course next time the course is given, free of charge of course. This happens quite often among my students, don't worry.  

Q. How could I pay for the course?

A. I prefer that your supervisor/institution pay the registration fee. You could pay by invoice or directly on-line when the course opens. 

Q. How long time do I have access to the online material?

A. You will have access to the material for life (or as long as you would like to). I will also update the material so you always have the most recent information about science visualization.

Q. What is Visualize your Science?

A. Visualize your Science AB is a company based in Espoo Finland (FO: 2754269-4), It was founded by Andreas Dahlin in April 2016. Visualize your Science AB helps scientists to communicate their research more effectively with better images, illustrations, visualizations and animations. 


Register here

Who is your instructor?

Andreas Dahlin has a PhD in Analytical Chemistry, Uppsala university from 2005. He thereafter worked as a project leader and researcher in an interdisciplinary project at Uppsala university where his group developed a new microdialysis catheter for clinical use. He has always been interested in presenting science with high quality, pedagogical images. 

In 2011, he started a PhD-course at Uppsala university with the name Visualize your Science where he shows tips and tricks on how students could visually communicate their research more effectively to both the general audience and peers. The course quickly became the most popular, non-mandatory graduate course at Uppsala university. So far, more than 40 students have won poster prizes in international conferences.  

In the beginning of 2016, Andreas founded Visualize Your Science AB (Visualizeyourscience.com) and decided to dedicate all his time to help researchers become better science communicators using illustrations, visualizations and animations.

Contact Andreas



Visualize your Science AB

  • Sinimäentie 8B1 
  • 02630 Espoo, Finland
  • FO: 2754269-4
  • www.visualizeyourscience.com

Visualize your Science © 2016-2019